One of  my favorite political analysts, Jay Cost, sifts through the economic data and concludes Obama’s chances at re-elecion are slim:

On a political level, the blame for the recovery goes entirely to President Obama. Indeed, looking at the polls on his handling of the economy, you can see that he is already taking the heat.

And so, we can lay down the following marker: if the economic recovery does not begin to show substantial improvement, the likes of which we have not really seen in the last two years, and if the GOP nominates a reasonably acceptable alternative, this president is going to lose in 2012, and the final result will not be close. Nobody gets reelected with employment way down, real income way down, and 14 percent of his fellow citizens on food stamps. Nobody.

And the president needs something more than a “recovery” in the sense that we’ve seen to date. When you start controlling for inflation, population growth, and government intervention, the recovery we’ve seen has only been, at best, a treading of water for average people. This president needs to see a significant improvement in real, per capita, and private metrics of personal economic vitality. Put simply, he needs something more than this “food stamp recovery” to win next year.