http://betting.betfair.com/specials...012-five-reasons-why-obama-remain-191110.html US Presidential Elections 2012: Five reasons why Obama remains the best bet Obama may have taken a pounding in the mid-terms but that makes now the time to get behind another victory when America next goes to the polls, says Paul Krishnamurty Mid-term elections are an unreliable guide to the Presidency With the Democrats on the receiving end of the heaviest mid-term beating for either party since 1938, many pundits are already talking of Barack Obama as a one-term President. Punters playing the 2012 Presidential Election markets, however, should be wary of drawing such premature conclusions. Here's why. For starters, the media obsession with individuals and personality tends to overlook an awkward fact about this anti-Obama narrative. The mid-term elections weren't specifically about him, they were for Congress, between individual Congressmen and women with local records to defend. Not easy during a prolonged downturn, at a time when 'Washington', (irrespective of party), is deeply unpopular. Regular polls over the past year have shown Congress approval rating around a miserly 25%, compared to Obama's rating averaging around 46%. Just as we see in the UK, mid-term results often fail to reflect overall national opinion, because opponents of the incumbent are more motivated to vote. There are plenty of historical precedents to illustrate the danger of reading too much into these results. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both saw their party lose mid-term before winning a second term, whereas one term Presidents George Bush Snr and Jimmy Carter both won mid-term. Indeed, the market hasn't over-reacted to this reversal, with the Democrats remaining solid at 1.77 to retain the Presidency. It is too early to judge major reforms Another dodgy premature conclusion lies in analysis of Obama's most significant, and divisive piece of legislation; healthcare reform. For sure, the polls right now look awful for him, with 58% supporting repeal. It certainly contributed towards the Democrat defeat. However, one barely reported fact, at least in the UK, is that the first reforms only came into being on September 23. Isn't it a bit early to be drawing conclusions about public opinion in 2012? Those negative ratings have to be set against a backdrop of furious, noisy opposition to a complex bill in Washington. Of often hostile media reports of big, scary costs, rather than real-world reforms and everyday experience. If as Obama's opponents would argue, America is fundamentally opposed to 'big government', then why is Medicaid popular? Were opinion on healthcare to turn, and remember it was a different story before Obama was elected, Republican opposition could prove an historic mistake. Government will expose Republican opportunism, and Tea Party contradictions Being in government pretty much anywhere in the world right now is a thankless task, while opposition has become easy. Now they are part of the government machinery, the Republicans will face much more scrutiny than since 2008. No longer will they be able to demand deficit reduction, without stipulating what to cut or who to tax. Especially since the rise of the Tea Party, there is no shortage of division within their ranks from social policy to the economy. Given the Eurozone crisis and ongoing instability in the banking sector, would they really retain their opposition to bailouts? We've been here before. When Newt Gingrich's Republicans brought much of the government to a halt after a budget standoff with Bill Clinton, Republicans paid a price in the next Presidential election. The two parties are much more divided nowadays, making stalemate likely for the next two years. That may suit libertarian Conservatives whose raison d'etre is to see government doing less, but it is a very risky electoral strategy. Obama remains a superb campaigner and will relish reminding people of Republican complicity, and flushing out those contradictions. Obama remains more popular than leading Republican alternatives Those odds favouring the Democrats owe much to there being no obvious Republican opponent with broad appeal. Polls comparing Obama to the two leading Republican candidates show the President in a 45/45 tie with Mitt Romney, and 48/42 ahead of Sarah Palin. More interesting is the swing state of Virginia, where the Democrats have just lost three congressional seats, and where Obama was the first Democrat to win since Lyndon Johnson. In this pivotal state, Obama is favoured over four different Republican challengers by margins ranging between 5% and 11%. The Republican nomination process could split the Right If the likely standoff in Congress doesn't emphasise GOP divisions, the primaries certainly will. Tea Party activists have already ousted moderate Republicans like Charlie Crist, and will be a loud voice during the nomination process. There is already an 'ABM' (Anyone But Mitt) movement against the establishment candidate Romney, who lest we forget, fared absymally in 2008 despite enjoying a massive financial advantage. Senior Republicans of all stripes shudder at the effect Sarah Palin could have as a candidate. The Tea Party are a serious force, determined to seize the soul and agenda of the Republican Party. Whether they succeed or not, the effect is likely to drive away moderates, and could split the Right. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that somebody from the defeated wing runs as a third candidate in 2012. That would greatly lower the target required by Obama. When Ross Perot ran as a third candidate in 1992, Clinton won comfortably with just 43% of the vote, compared to the 53% Obama will be defending from 2008.