With all three of the presidential debates completed, the election is looking to be a close contest. The closest parallel to the 2012 presidential election is the 2004 presidential election, in which the incumbent of that time, Bush 43, won a second term by a narrow margin.
From the perspective of social mood, bear markets normally result in incumbents getting thrown out of office by a landslide, as was the case with Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election at the low of Supercycle wave (IV) down and Martin Van Buren in 1840 during Supercycle wave (II) down (1835 - 1859).
The 2012 presidential election, however, is taking place in a mixed mood environment, resulting from a very large bear market rally off the March 2009 low. It was the same way in the 2004 presidential election as well, with a 5 year bear market rally, Primary wave [B] up (2002 - 2007) of Cycle wave w down (2000 - 2009) with a mixed mood environment in play.
In a mixed mood environment, the candidate with the best ground game and the highest level of organizational strength will be the one that wins. George W. Bush (Bush 43) won a second term by a narrow margin in 2004. Bush 43 had a stronger ground game than John Kerry did due in part to the Koch-ALEC cabal and the organization of the religious right. In the current presidential election, President Obama is on course to win a second term by a narrow margin. Unlike the 2008 election in which Obama rode a massive wave of voter anger (from the "Panic of 2008") all the way to the White House, the 2012 election will prove to be much harder and will take a great amount of effort to win. President Obama's superior organizational strength is what will allow him to win a second term in the midst of a mixed mood environment.
The bear market rally off the March 2009 low appears to be incomplete and needs one more five wave rally to complete the structure. The rally should unfold through election day and peak about a third of the way into November 2012, as the chart below illustrates:
The chart above shows Minor wave 5 of the 2 year bearish rising wedge, Intermediate wave (C), that started in June 2010. Minor wave 5 is unfolding as a triple zigzag with the last part of the third zigzag still to come. The upside target is 1484 for the S&P 500 and 13750 for the DJIA.
In the midst of the mixed mood environment are undercurrents of bearish social mood, which is most clearly seen in the DJIA / gold ratio. As the chart below shows, the DJIA in terms of real money is in a very clear down-trend with a series of lower lows and lower highs throughout the Obama Administration Period so far:
The decline in the DJIA / gold ratio also explains why Obama's approval rating displayed a long term down-trend. In addition, the most recent polls are painting a mixed picture, with some polls putting Obama ahead and some putting Romney ahead.
Intrade is currently projecting a 62% chance that Obama will win a second term, although some such as Nate Silver is currently projecting a 73% chance that Obama will win. It will be a close election, with Mitt Romney reaching 250+ electoral votes (it could possibly go as high as 260), but California, Oregon, and Washington will put Obama over the 270 electoral votes needed to win once voting is completed in those three states.
The last two cases of a president winning a second term during a bear market rally was Bush 43 in the 2004 election and Richard Nixon winning a second term in 1972 with the mixed mood environment in play as a result of Primary wave [D] up of a Cycle degree triangle, Cycle wave IV (1966 - 1974). Obama is on course to win a second term on November 6, 2012.
It is perhaps instructive to look back and realize that both Bush 43 and Nixon declined in popularity during their second term. Bush 43 saw his approval rating plunge to 25% in the wake of the "Panic of 2008" and Richard Nixon was pressured out of office less than 2 years later due to scandal. If the forecast for a Primary degree decline from 2012 to 2016 is correct, than Obama will face the same fate as Bush 43 with social mood becoming increasingly bearish, culminating in a wave of voter anger that makes conditions ripe for someone like Michele Bachmann or Paul Ryan to rise to power as the next president of the United States in the 2016 election.
President Obama's approval rating will likely plunge soon after the elections taking place. In the midst of all the talk about a "fiscal cliff" in economic policy that has been dubbed "Taxmageddon" and is set to be reached in January 2013, there is another cliff that we are approaching, and that is the end of a 2 year rising bearish wedge in the DJIA, S&P 500, and the Wilshire 5000. The resolution of the wedge pattern is expected to be relatively swift with the full retracement of the wedge expected to be completed in June 2013.
Here is a chart of the wedge and the drop-off that follows:
Labelled on the chart is President Obama's approval rating at important junctures. At the May 2011 high, when the DJIA reached 12876, President Obama's approval rating briefly reached 61% in the aftermath of the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Just 5 months later, at the low of Minor wave 2 down within the larger wedge, the United States was downgraded by Standard and Poors from AAA to AA+, and Obama's approval rating reached a low of 38%. As the peak of the bear market rally approaches, Obama's approval rating has only partially rebounded from the October 2011 low and is currently at 48%.
The expectation is for Obama's approval rating to take a massive plunge downward as the retracement of the rising bearish wedge unfolds. The forecast is for Obama's approval rating to fall to a low of 28% to 32% by June 2013. The sudden decline in social mood starting in mid November 2012 points to a scenario where there is no resolution on the "fiscal cliff" at all due to strife and discord between Obama, John Boehner, Harry Reid, and Mitch McConnell, which could result in another downgrade on the credit rating of the United States.