Over at Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, a pretty sobering -- and clear-headed -- analysis of the November possibilities, with an additional data point folded in:
...my previous research shows that we can greatly improve the accuracy of our November forecast by including two additional predictors along with the incumbent’s approval rating: the growth rate of the economy during the first two quarters of the election year and the “time for change” factor, which indicates whether the incumbent’s party has held the White House for only one term or for two or more terms. Incumbents whose party has held the White House for two or more terms do significantly worse than those whose party has held the White House for only one term, even after taking into account the incumbent’s approval rating and the condition of the economy.
So if you factor in the May approval rating -- which is, apparently, a pretty good indicator for November's outcome -- and GDP, and the "time for change" data point, you get this:
So what does our improved forecasting model indicate about President Obama’s chances of winning a second term in the White House? That depends of course on the growth rate of the economy during the first two quarters of the year. The government’s initial estimate of real GDP growth during the first quarter of 2012 was about 2%, and growth during the second quarter is expected to be similar. If we assume that real GDP will grow by 2% during the first half of 2012, the full forecasting model predicts that Obama will end up with 51% of the major party vote in November, not much different from what the simple approval-based model predicted.
In other words: this is not going to be a cakewalk.