I was going to call this predictions.
But it's more like "fun resources so YOU can make predictions." Here we go:
1. There are lots of models that predict share of two party vote in Presidential elections, based on the economy. Here is one that's fun to fool around with...
With plausible assumptions, that would imply that the Dems will get 49.7 -- 50.5 of the two party vote in November. Given the way the Electoral College "counts" votes, that would likely mean a narrow win for the Repubs. Of course that depends on who the Repub nominee is. But if you want to go strictly by the "economy determines whether incumbent Prez wins" theory, right now it's a toss up.
On the other hand, if there is 4% growth in the first two quarters of 2012, you would get a 53.5% vote in the states, and that is close to a landslide. So, the point is, to the extent the models matter, 2% growth and Obama loses. 4% growth and Obama wins in November.
This map is VERY fun for doing simulations, state by state, in Electoral College. (of course, the fact that I think that is fun may explain why I never had dates in high school)
2. Conference Board is predicting 1.5% growth for 2012. If that is right, then Obama loses. Again depending on who the Repub nominee is, of course.
3. Any prediction, based on any reasonable assumptions about the economy, predict that Repubs keep the House, and maybe even add a little to their majority. Redistricting will help here, because many state legislatures were taken over in 2010 election, and the winner redraws the maps.
4. Ben Nelson's (D-Neb) retirement puts the range of outcomes for the Senate at 51 D - 49 R to 47 D -- 53 R. But these are not equally likely. Most likely is 50 D -- 50 R, with VP Biden breaking tie votes in favor of Democrats. So, if I had to guess, Dems retain control of Senate, though only by the thinnest of margins.
5. Consumer confidence: on the economy, seems on the upswing. Still very weak. As long as the Euro is all covered with Greece, very scary situation. Our banks bought up a LOT of PIGS sovereign debt, with MF securities being only the most greedy. Other institutions are lined up like dominoes. World economy could get hammered here. That would be bad.
6. Congressional job approval is at its lowest level EVER, 11%. The House and Senate are each profoundly dysfunctional. But "we hate Congress, though we love our Congressman" is the old saying. The disgust with Congress rarely translates into voting out incumbents. Each election is separate, and based on personality and local factors. So the so-called "triple flip" where people vote against incumbents in Prez, House, and Senate races is very unlikely. People say they are mad, and then they line up and vote for incumbents.
7. Presidential approval is very bad also, but still in the mid 40% range. The difference is that we do vote on the Presidency, directly, in a way we do not on Congress. The rule of thumb is that if your negatives, of "disapprove" numbers, are above 45% you are toast. Right now, President Obama is toast, by that measure.
Oh, and happy new year, all you KPC fans! I am on leave until September, so I shall be blogging from many places around the globe, and I'm looking forward to it.