According to the political analyst Charles Cook:
We are past the point where Obama can win a referendum election, regardless of whether it is on him or the economy. The success of his campaign is contingent upon two things. First, when focusing on the narrow sliver of undecided voters, between 6 and 8 percent of the electorate, the Obama team must make its candidate the lesser of two evils. It has to make the prospect of a Mitt Romney presidency so unpalatable that about half of those undecided voters will begrudgingly vote for reelection. Polling focusing on the undecided voters reveals they are a deeply pessimistic and angry segment of the electorate and don’t particularly like either candidate (fitting, because they don’t tend to like politicians). But they show signs of being more conservative than not. One unpublished analysis gives Republicans a 10-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot test among those undecided about the presidential race. Close analysis of the numbers shows that Obama might have an edge with between a third and a quarter of the currently undecided bloc. That’s cutting things awfully close. [emphasis added]
In addition, the Gallup organization released a new survey that shows the Economic Confidence Index was -26 for the week ending June 24. Americans’ confidence has now receded for four straight weeks and is at the lowest point since late January.
These findings aren’t surprising, but they are, for the president, alarming.
The closer we’re getting to the election, the worse the news is for the president. It isn’t the situation he wants, but it’s one he has increasingly little control over.