There is more to an election than raw economic numbers. Life was a great deal harder in 1936 than 1932. The first four years of the new deal mostly saw the economy spinning its wheels and the economy continued to shrink. However, Roosevelt did substantially better in 1936 than in 1932. By 1940 the economy made substantial gains, but in the elections of 1940, so did the Republicans. In 1932 the big issue was beer. You read contemporary accounts of the election of 1932, the big issue was beer. The people may have been hungry, but the big debate that year was the issue of thirst. Despite the bad numbers, there really is no Republican candidate who inspires the general population much. In terms of inspiring independents, the issue is even more pronounced. That said, Republicans generally don't like "man on horseback" candidates. With the exception of Reagan Republicans don't get that excited over their candidates like the Democrats do over the likes of a Kennedy or Obama. Or for that matter such blanks as Stevenson. You might argue that Grant and Eisenhower are exceptions to that, but Eisenhower seems to have chosen the Republicans on the basis of a coin toss, and Grant had voted Democrat in the only election he bothered to attend prior to 1868. So... Obama's bad numbers don't guarantee he will loose. He still has a huge cadre of true believers. In order to win the election the Republicans will have to find someone who inspires confidence amongst the independents, who couldn't possibly inspire the kind of affection from the faithful who can win the nomination. I have high hopes the Republicans can find a candidate to replace the current embarrassment, but just because the economic and polling numbers are not good for Obama, I see don't see that as a guarantee of a loss for him either.