Democrats divided on Obama in 2012

With only days left before the crucial midterm election President Barack Obama makes a final get-out-the-vote push for Democratic candidates in Bridgeport, Conn., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
With only days left before the crucial midterm election President Barack Obama makes a final get-out-the-vote push for Democratic candidates in Bridgeport, Conn., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (J. Scott Applewhite)

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By Alan Fram
Sunday, October 31, 2010

Democratic voters are closely divided over whether President Obama should be challenged within the party for a second term in 2012, an Associated Press-Knowledge Networks Poll finds.

A real Democratic challenge to Obama seems unlikely at this stage, and his reelection bid is a long way off. But the findings underscore how disenchanted his party has grown heading into the congressional elections Tuesday.

The AP-KN poll has tracked a group of people and their views since the beginning of the 2008 presidential campaign. Among Democrats, 47 percent say Obama should be challenged for the 2012 nomination and 51 percent say he should not be opposed. Those favoring a contest include most who backed Hillary Rodham Clinton's unsuccessful faceoff against Obama for the 2008 nomination.

Among all 2008 voters, 51 percent say he deserves to be defeated in November 2012 while 47 percent support his reelection - essentially a tie.

Political operatives and polling experts caution that Obama's poll standings say more about people's frustrations today with the economy and other conditions than they do about his reelection prospects. With the next presidential election two years away, the public's view of Obama could easily improve if the economy revives or if he outmaneuvers Republicans on Capitol Hill or in the presidential campaign.

"Democrats currently disappointed with Obama will likely be less disappointed if he spends the next two years fighting a GOP Congress" should Republicans do well on Election Day, said Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political science professor and polling analyst.


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