All voters care about is the economy, and that weight is on Obama's shoulders. Better numbers can help him take the 2012 election, but proving he can fix our money woes over the next four years is the clincher.
"It's the economy, stupid".
The line made famous by Democratic consultant James Carville is as true today as when he uttered it during the 1992 presidential election.
If the economy is struggling, as it is right now, voters don't care about much else. And that's a major problem for President Obama.
A new Gallup poll showed that just 26 percent of people approve of how Obama is handling the economy, a major decline since May and the lowest the president has ever scored on the question.
Independents, who Obama has spent much of the past 8 months aggressively courting, are equally unhappy about his work on the economy with just 23 percent approving.
The silver lining for the president is that most voters don't yet blame him for the current economic problems. A recent Marist University poll showed that 59 percent of people said he had inherited the economic problems facing the country while just 33 percent put the blame at his feet.
The question is whether in the next 15 months people will begin to blame Obama more and more for the economic woes facing the country.
Republicans will do everything they can to make Obama own the economy during the campaign to come.
The president and his political team have to hope the unemployment numbers begin to tick downward so he can make the case that he deserves four more years to fix what ails the economy.
- James Carville