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

That glum assessment carries over into the nation at large, which is similarly divided over whether Obama should be a one-term president.

A real Democratic challenge to Obama seems unlikely at this stage and his re-election 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 all 2008 voters, 51 percent say he deserves to be defeated in November 2012 while 47 percent support his re-election — essentially a tie.

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. The poll did not ask if Democrats would support particular challengers.

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 re-election prospects. With the next presidential election two years away — an eon in politics — 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.

Even so, the poll illustrates how Obama's reputation has frayed since 2008. It suggests lingering bad feelings from Democrats' bitter primary fight, when he and Clinton — now his secretary of state — roughly split the popular vote. Political professionals of both parties said the findings are a warning for the president, whose formal re-election effort is expected to begin stirring next year.

"It's an indicator of things he needs to address between now and then," said Kiki McLean, a Democratic strategist who worked in Clinton's 2008 campaign.

The White House declined comment on the results.

The 1,254 randomly chosen people in the survey are from a group that was polled 11 times during the 2008 campaign by AP, Knowledge Networks and Yahoo News. The poll finds that over that period, Obama has retained most supporters while seeing some erosion:

_Nearly 3 in 10, or 29 percent, of Democrats who said during the spring of 2008 that they were backing Obama for the Democratic nomination now say they want him to be challenged in 2012. Seven in 10 want him renominated.

_Sixty-one percent of Democrats who said in spring 2008 that they were backing Clinton now say Obama should face an opponent for the party's nomination.

_More than 8 in 10 overall who on Election Day 2008 said they'd voted for Obama want to re-elect him, though 1 in 7 say he should be defeated.

_More than 1 in 4 who said in October 2008 that Obama understands the problems of ordinary Americans now say he doesn't. The same is true for those who said he is innovative, cares about people like them and shares their values.

_Of those who said right after the 2008 election that they had a favorable opinion of Obama, nearly one-quarter now view him negatively.

"Nobody wants to work with this guy," said Steven Fagin, 45, of Cincinnati. A Democrat and 2008 Obama voter, he cited deep divisions between Democrats and Republicans. "We're never going to get anything done."

The survey found that those likeliest to oppose Obama's re-election include men, older people, those without college degrees and whites. Those groups mostly supported his 2008 Republican opponent, John McCain.

Three in four Democrats want Obama re-elected while nearly 9 in 10 Republicans oppose it. Independents lean slightly against Obama, 46 percent to 36 percent.

Democrats saying Obama should face a primary challenge tend to be less educated, less liberal and likelier to have been 2008 Clinton backers.

Democratic activists say there are no signs of a serious primary challenge to Obama, though some speculate an effort could come from liberals who think he's drifted too far to the center.

Recent history shows presidents' early polling numbers mean little about their re-election prospects.

At this stage two years before their re-elections, Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan had approval ratings that were lower than Obama's now, according to the Gallup Poll; both men won a second term. The ratings for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter were better than Obama's; both lost.

"Presidents Mondale, Dole and McCain all speak to the very substantial limits of off-year polling results," said Bill McInturff, McCain's 2008 pollster, as he named three politicians who fell short of the White House. Walter Mondale lost to Reagan in 1984 while Clinton defeated Bob Dole in 1996.

The AP-Knowledge Networks Poll was conducted from Sept. 17 to Oct. 7. The original panel of adults was randomly selected using traditional telephone polling methods, but interviews were conducted online. People without computers or Internet access were given that technology for free.

The margin of sampling error for all 1,254 adults is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. It is plus or minus 6.5 points for the 571 Democrats, and 5.3 points for the 852 people who said on Election Day 2008 that they had voted.


Associated Press Polling Director Trevor Tompson, Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta, News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and political writer Liz Sidoti contributed to this report.

Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

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These types of articles never get down to the nitty gritty: overly compromising posture toward the madness that is the conservative right...

and i don't even know why anybody is bringing up Hillary Clinton at all...she was already tired looking during the last campaign and is likely to be a grandmom by the time campaign season rolls around.  I don't think she'd be interested in the nomination at age 64/65...and really, who needs another clinton in the whitehouse?
Quote by NSpiit: "The 1,254 randomly chosen people in the survey are from a group that was polled 11 times during the 2008 campaign by AP, Knowledge Networks and Yahoo News."

To me this is why polls don't really mean anything in regards to how an entire nation feels about political matters and the media drives the point home knowing that everyday citizens won't realize and don't understand the methods and tactics used to influence and sway opinions.

Quote: "Democrats currently disappointed with Obama will likely be less disappointed if he spends the next two years fighting a GOP Congress"

This is going to be the "punch in he gut moment" for the Democrats if the voters stay home and the GOP takes over the House and loses seats in the Senate for more Republican power to influence outcomes and all the bitchin' and moanin' about President Obama and what he did "half ass" according to many dissapoined Democrats or did not do with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate within the first 2 years will really shine a light on what President Obama will have to deal with in passing anything for the next 2 years and if that reality happens and the Republicans say no now going forward, with power and authority in their corner, will reverse and try to stop any and all momemtum going forward with the Obama agenda then don't look at him and say "aw, he's weak, can't get nothing done and need a change" then it's way too late.....and the 'we made a terrible mistake" aftermath is what you'll have to live with from now on.

And once people get mad, Is there going to be a "Democratic type" Tea Party movement after Nov. 3 that will mirror the Republicans in protesting Republicans in power and start gettin' rid of Democrats who are not enough "far left" in 2012 after Nov 3 if the Republicans win; having less Democratic power now because Democrats were pissed at Obama, stayed at home and did not vote during the mid-terms?

The reality....... Democrats did not vote Nov 3d, the House and Senate are bascially controlled by the Repubs and now after the fact. it's time to get mad and fired up?...that's just ass backwards but well deserved to Dems if it happens.

What's that old saying? You don't know what you had until you've completely lost it.

And if President Obama get a Democratic challenger  in two years to oppose him, who will the new Democratic challenger/nominee for President be?.......Who will the Dems support and vote for?......Hillary Clinton with Bill Clinton back-up?......Really?.....Will that work?...people are just that damn naive & gullible to believe that she can do better than Obama because she has her husband as an advisor....People need to realize that Bill Clinton had an easy "drama free" 8 year Presidency with normal everyday issues to deal with and not the crap that Obama has to deal with so his "shadow Presidency" standing behind his wife IMO, won't help her fix these major problems...And even if were possible for Bill Clinton to get re-elected again, he would not do any better than Obama.....Who else?.....anybody else?......Will somebody please provide me with another name besides Clinton because I can't think of anybody else.

Democrats, don't fuck this up.
Last edited by Cholly
And if President Obama get a Democratic challenger in two years to oppose him, who will the new Democratic challenger/nominee for President be?.......Who will the Dems support and vote for?......Hillary Clinton with Bill Clinton back-up?......Really?.....Will that work?...people are just that damn naive & gullible to believe that she can do better than Obama because she has her husband as an advisor....People need to realize that Bill Clinton had an easy "drama free" 8 year Presidency with normal everyday issues to deal with and not the crap that Obama has to deal with so his "shadow Presidency" standing behind his wife IMO, won't help her fix these major problems...And even if were possible for Bill Clinton to get re-elected again, he would not do any better than Obama.....Who else?.....anybody else?......Will somebody please provide me with another name besides Clinton because I can't think of anybody else.
  That's ALL I'm sayin

If you do nothing else on Tuesday, GO VOTE!!! Don't believe that hype about your vote doesn't count; don't even entertain the discussion because the Truth IS, your vote DOES count. The earlier you get in on the voting process, the better...but one thing for sure is this: if you do nothing, you can't complain about the results.

STAND UP for something and show people we WON'T fall for everything.

Hoping your day is blessed!

"Wisdom Is A Woman Empowered!"
This has to be the dumbest, most useless article I've read in a long time!!!    Obviously the reporters, the editors AND the pollsters had entirely too much time on their hands and must have been bored out of their minds!!!

FIRST of all ... I can't remember at ANY time in ANY memorable history where the incumbent president was asked to compete for his Party's nomination!!   It just doesn't happen.  If the sitting president decides not to run for a second term, he announces his intention to step down early enough for contenders to come out of the woodwork and mount a campaign.

No Party is going to admit - publicly - that their current choice for president is NOT doing a good job ... make that a great job ... even if it's TRUE ... which is what would be the perception if they picked somebody else (or even allowed somebody else) to challenge him!  And President Obama, no matter what the political climate at the time, is not likely to be the first!

Secondly, Hillary Clinton has no intention of running for president again!!  She shot her best shot .. missed the mark ... and it's probably a pretty safe bet that her presidential hopeful ship has sailed for the last time.   Unless, of course, she is arm-twisted by the Democratic leadership to succeed President Obama ... since her popularity from the last election would make her a virtual shoe-in.  But, I wouldn't put any of my money on that happening.

President Obama will be a tough act to follow for the Democrats to try to keep hold of the power of the presidency.  The public will not want just anybody sitting in the White House.  Hopefully there will be another dynamic choice when that time comes.

Lastly ... I don't know WHO they were asking these questions to ... but, it's a pretty sure bet the majority of them were White, politically naive, and probably more than a little on the bigoted side!    Even asking such a question two years out is just utterly ridiculous.

If this is the best they can do in the "news" department ... the media needs to go find another job. 
It's happened quite a few times, actually.  Kennedy v. Carter in 1980 like NS said... Wikipedia says Nixon had two guys run against him in the primaries in 1972, Peter McCloskey and John Ashbrook (two congressmen).  LBJ had a huge group of Democrats against him in 1964.  But it didn't happen in 1984, 1996 or 2004 (the last times we had an incumbent running for reelection).  

Unless it's Hillary Clinton, it would be a huge mistake to try such a thing.  But if Hillary were to run, it would be pretty advantageous, actually.  Even though on the surface it would sound like Obama is vulnerable, the fact is that it would be a good look for him to be seen winning an election before the general election.  If he defeated a primary challenger, it would remind people just how formidable he is.  If he were to lose, and it were Hillary Clinton that he lost to, it would remind people how formidable SHE is.  But if they ran anybody else instead, then it would be a waste of time and would give rise to all the obvious doubts about him.
Yep!  You were right, NS!!    And a really interesting story it was ... per Wiki:

1980 presidential campaign

Kennedy finally ran for the Democratic nomination in the 1980 presidential election by launching an unusual, insurgent campaign against the incumbent Carter, a member of his own party. A midsummer 1978 poll had shown Democrats preferring Kennedy over Carter by a 5-to-3 margin.[53] During spring and summer 1979, as Kennedy deliberated whether to run, Carter was not intimidated despite his 28 percent approval rating, saying publicly: "If Kennedy runs, I'll whip his ass."[84][86] Carter later asserted that Kennedy’s constant criticism of his policies was a strong sign that Kennedy was planning to run for the presidency.[89] Labor unions urged Kennedy to run, as did some Democratic party officials who feared that Carter's unpopularity would lead to bad losses in the 1980 congressional elections.[90] By August 1979, when Kennedy decided to run, polls showed him with a 2-to-1 advantage over Carter,[91] and Carter's approval rating slipped to 19 percent.[90] Kennedy formally announced his campaign on November 7, 1979, at Boston's Faneuil Hall.[86] He had already received substantial negative press from a rambling response to the question "Why do you want to be President?" during an interview with Roger Mudd of CBS News broadcast a few days earlier.[86][92] The Iranian hostage crisis, which began on November 4, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which began on December 27, caused the electorate to rally around the president, allowed Carter to pursue a Rose Garden strategy of staying at the White House, and knocked Kennedy's campaign out of the headlines.[86][93]

Kennedy's campaign staff was disorganized and Kennedy was initially an ineffective campaigner.[93][94] The Chappaquiddick incident became a more significant factor than the staff expected, with several newspaper columnists and editorials criticizing Kennedy's answers on the matter.[93] In the January 1980 Iowa caucuses that began the primaries season, Carter demolished Kennedy by a 59–31 percent margin.[86] Kennedy's fundraising immediately dropped off and his campaign had to downsize, but he remained defiant, saying "[Now] we'll see who is going to whip whose what."[95] Nevertheless, Kennedy lost three New England contests.[86] Kennedy did form a more coherent message about why he was running, saying at Georgetown University: "I believe we must not permit the dream of social progress to be shattered by those whose premises have failed."[96] Continued concern about Chappaquiddick and Kennedy’s personal character was preventing him from gaining support of many people who were disillusioned with Carter.[97] In a key March 18 primary in Illinois, Chappaquiddick hurt Kennedy badly among Catholic voters; during a St. Patrick's Day Parade the day before, Kennedy had to wear a bullet-proof vest due to assassination threats as hecklers yelled "Where's Mary Jo?" at him.[98] Carter crushed Kennedy on polling day, winning 155 of 169 delegates.[36][86]

With little mathematical hope of winning the nomination and polls showing likely defeat in the New York primary, Kennedy prepared to withdraw from the race.[86] But due in part to Jewish voter unhappiness with a U.S. vote at the United Nations against Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Kennedy staged an upset and won the March 25 vote by a 59–41 percent margin.[86] Carter counterattacked by issuing ads that by implication criticized Kennedy on Chappaquiddick, but Kennedy still managed a narrow win in the April 22 Pennsylvania primary.[86] Carter won 11 of 12 primaries held in May, while on the June 3 Super Tuesday primaries, Kennedy won California, New Jersey, and three smaller states out of eight contests.[99] Overall, Kennedy had won 10 presidential primaries against Carter, who won 24.[100]

Although Carter now had enough delegates to clinch the nomination,[99] Kennedy carried his campaign on to the 1980 Democratic National Convention in August in New York, hoping to pass a rule there that would free delegates from being bound by primary results and open the convention.[86] This move failed on the first night of the convention, and Kennedy withdrew.[86] On the second night, August 12, Kennedy delivered the most famous speech of his career.[101] Drawing on allusions to and quotes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Alfred Lord Tennyson to say that American liberalism was not passé,[102] he concluded with the words:[103]

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

The Madison Square Garden audience reacted with wild applause and demonstrations for half an hour.[86] On the final night, however, Kennedy arrived late after Carter's acceptance speech, and while he shook Carter's hand, he failed to raise Carter's arm in the traditional show of party unity.[36][102] Carter's difficulty in securing Kennedy supporters during the general election campaign was one of many causes that led to his defeat in November by Ronald Reagan.[102]

No, you're right.  I count him because he was the sitting president, so to me it was less important that he wasn't previously elected.  It seems too much like a technicality to make a difference, but it is true regardless.  

Carter said he's "whip Kennedy's ass"?!?  LOL!!  Sometimes I forget he has kind of a sharp tongue. He did call G H Bush a "milksop," back in 1988.
Well, actually I was talking about being mistaken about him being elected out of pity the first time! 

I remember Gerald Ford when he had to take over for Nixon ... and he was not the least bit "presidential" ... and people didn't really like him for that reason.  And LBJ was the same way.  It's one of the reasons why each decided not to pursue a second term ... they weren't very "popular" or a 'choice of the people'.  And I understand why that might not seem important ... but, in politics, appearance and popularity (and approval ratings) are pretty much everything!!!! 

And that's why it seems to me that LBJ might've kinda *slid* into being elected into the presidency that first time.  People were still reeling from President Kennedy's assassination ... but Johnson scored big brownie points by going through with Kennedy's plans for signing the Civil Rights Act and other social consciousness issues .. and I think he kinda 'rode that wave in' .. if you know what I mean. 

After people got to know him, though .... it turned out to be a slightly different story.
Perhaps a primary challenge might force the sitting president back to "center left" rather than the inexorable march toward the right...?

ahh..who am i kidding?  the newfound leftwardness would appear only for primary season then it would veer back to the right...because it's a right of center country don'tcha know...

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