The 2012 Election: What Happened, What Changed, What it Means

In the fall of 2011, Barack Obama’s prospects for reelection did not appear bright. After the failure of his “grand bargain” talks with House Speaker John Boehner, his approval rating plunged to a new low. Economic growth was mediocre, unemployment remained stubbornly high, and the public’s confidence in the future was waning. The president seemed unable to find a credible narrative to explain his plans; worse, he seemed to have lost the connection with the people that had fueled his remarkable victory in 2008.

What followed—between Labor Day of 2011 and Election Day in 2012—was one of the more noteworthy political comebacks in recent American history. [cont. – PDF]

Bill Galston, Brookings