The Big Questions: By Mark Halperin

Wes Duvall for TIME

What ails the President these days?

A vicious cycle: lower poll numbers beget political weakness, which begets a stalled agenda, which begets lower poll numbers. Support from key groups at the center of his 2008 coalition, notably young voters and Hispanics, has fallen by double digits in some surveys. And the President, uncharacteristically, has tarnished his brand by making big decisions on the basis of politics, not substance--moving to the right in scaling back some EPA regulations and to the left in trimming his sails on entitlement reform. Fed-up Republicans are more confident of beating him, and some of the President's...

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