Welcome to the first of my weekly roundups of the upcoming U.S. elections. President Obama’s approval rating remains below 50% and the economy continues to be weak, but political futures markets still give him better than even odds of winning reelection. At the same time, they give Republicans a good chance of winning control of both houses of Congress. And although I wrote after the Iowa caucus that we shouldn’t assume that Mitt Romney will necessarily be the Republican nominee, futures traders consider the former Massachusetts governor the heavy favorite to challenge Obama in the fall.
Political Futures Markets
Chance President Obama will win reelection: 51.4% (Intrade)
Chance Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination: 80.0% (Intrade)
Chance that Republicans will win control of the Senate: 77.0% (Intrade)
Chance that Republicans will maintain control of the House: 70.2% (Intrade)
President Obama’s approval rating: 45.3% (Pollster)
Mitt Romney’s favorable rating: 36.5% (Pollster)
U.S. unemployment rate: 8.6% (November) (BLS)
One-year growth in real personal disposable income: -1.9% (Q3 2010) (BEA)
“Now that the 2012 GOP field has been winnowed to only two candidates with any real chance at nomination, the next big question is this: Who will key conservative leaders and groups support? The answer will determine whether Mitt Romney will waltz to the nomination—probably wrapping it up later this month—or if we’re in for a long, tough struggle, with Rick Santorum having a fighting chance.”—Jonathan Bernstein
“Cain, Perry, Bachmann all told them God to run for President, and all are out of the race. God is hilarious.”—Kelly Oxford
UP NEXT: the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, January 10
UPDATE: Removed generic the number for the generic congressional ballot, which was inaccurate.
Photo: Gage Skidmore