Will the State of Real Estate Hurt Obama's Chances of a Second Term?


Though it may seem very far away to those of us not planning to run for President of the United States, the Presidential Election of 2012 is right around the proverbial corner. And now, with real estate nowhere near the level of recovery many of us have hoped for, we have to ask the experts: will the state of real estate help or hurt President Obama in his bid for re-election?

As with all issues, especially political ones, when we ask the experts we get at least two opposing views. So, today we’ll start with the con: the side that feels Obama’s chances will be harmed by real estate) and return after Christmas with the pro: the side that thinks Obama’s chances won’t be). And in between, we promise a more holiday-esque posting.

So now, without further ado, the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the con side: Experts who think the state of real estate will work against Obama’s bid for a second term in office.

The Who

The experts emerging with this view are largely based in the states hardest hit by real estate’s crash. A few hours of research will yield multiple sites in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and similarly beleaguered states where high unemployment, low property values, and a flood of distressed properties have residents quite worried- and quite angry.

The theory is best worded by one pundit in the mid-west, Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune, whose sentiment os that Obama should withdraw completely from the 2012 race: "The sputtering economy is about to stall out, unemployment is high, his jobs program may not pass, foreclosures are rampant and the poor guy can't even sneak a cigarette.”

The When

People have short term memories or perhaps lack full understanding of the causes of real estate’s decline in general. They don’t know the problems began as far back as Clinton (if not sooner), weren't helped much by Bush, Jr., and came crashing down at Obama’s feet. Understandably, most Americans didn’t start paying attention until their homes lost value, until their homes went into foreclosure. And when that happened, Obama was in office.

The What

What’s likely to plague Obama the most: foreclosures.  Several key states, considered “swing states” in our elections, have been hammered by foreclosure. If voters in these states don’t think Obama’s administration has done enough to alleviate this problem, they may not be inclined to re-elect him.

The Why is also the Where

To understand better “the why” of Obama backlash, let’s humanize the issue by placing it an actual location. Pretend now you’re a homeowner in Nevada, a state that posted a 13.4% unemployment rate in October of this year. You’ve lost your job, and now you’re losing your house. Despite billions of dollars in bank bailout money, banks aren’t helping you stay in your home, nor are they helping your friends and family. Nevada is in fact the state with the most foreclosed properties in the nation

Florida follows close behind, high unemployment and a saturation of condos no one wants anymore driving the state to the second highest rate of foreclosures in the country.

Then we have places like California, which has historically been a Democratic state when it comes to the electoral college: with foreclosures and unemployment so high here, will the state again vote blue, or are too many homeowners seeing red?

The How

Let's focus on just five states that have been hard hit by the distressed propery hurricane: Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, and Ohio. These five states have a huge role in the upcoming election as they make up 80 of the 270 electoral votes required for victory and some of them, in the past at least, have been swing states, states that could go either way. These states play important roles in elections because while the always-blue states stay blue, and the always-red stay red, these unknowns have the power to change history.

So, the Final Word

The state of real estate could definitely affect Obama’s chances of a second term as America’s President, because record numbers of distressed properties and sagging home values rightfully frighten Americans. And though the admistration has made efforts to combat the problems, many Americans aren’t feeling the relief they want fast enough.

In a nutshell, the state of real estate means President Obama definitely has a tough road ahead.