Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
A calendar with a photo of President Ronald Reagan in an office that was part of President Obama tour of POET Biorefining in Macon, Mo., in April 2010.
Conventional wisdom is that the 2012 presidential campaign starts the day after the mid-term elections.
But for those who can't wait that long, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has a new Obama poll to ponder. According to the survey, more people want President Obama to run for re-election at this stage than wanted President Regan to run for a second term.
Two years ahead of the next presidential election, the public is divided over whether Barack Obama should run for a second term as president. About half (47%) say they would like to see Obama run again in 2012, while 42% say they would not. This is better than the outlook for Ronald Reagan in August 1982; at that point, just 36% of the public said they wanted to see Reagan – who subsequently went on to win his second term by an 18-point margin – run for reelection.
While it's good news for Obama that the percentage wanting him to run for re-election topped Reagan's numbers, Obama still is short of the 50 percent level which has to be a concern for his team.
Also, Reagan's recession was different than Obama's. The early 1980s recession was caused partly by high Federal Reserve interest rates meant to corral inflation.
Obama's recession, on the other hand, was set off by the bursting of an asset bubble in real estate and a related meltdown of the credit markets. Such recessions are typically longer and more painful.
So while interesting to note, the re-elect percentages don't tell us very much.