In William Howard Taft's last three years in office, the Dow lost 12 percent, and Taft lost the 1912 election to Woodrow Wilson. But if Theodore Roosevelt hadn't split from the Republicans and run under the Progressive Party banner against Taft that year, Taft might have returned to office.
It was a similar story with the first President Bush in 1992. The independent candidate Ross Perot siphoned off votes from both candidates, but historians generally believe more came from Bush's Republican camp. Clinton won with just 43 percent of the popular vote.
The economy also slipped into a recession during Bush's second year in office, and as he campaigned for re-election, the unemployment rate hovered well above the dreaded 7.2 percent mark.
Orlando, of Federated Investors, says a change in any single statistic won't guarantee a president gets re-elected. Analysts should consult a range of figures. One that looks less reassuring for Obama is his approval rating, he says.
No president has been re-elected with a Gallup approval rating below 48 percent approaching Election Day. Obama's numbers are improving, and the election is more than eight months away, but for now he's teetering on the edge — 48 percent.
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