The Big Questions: By Mark Halperin

Illustration by Wes Duvall for TIME

Is President Obama on the ropes?

If the election were held today, the Obama-Biden ticket would not win the 270 electoral votes required to hold the White House. The coalition that helped elect the President--fired-up liberals, independents, business interests, a friendly media contingent--has been disbanded. Deep-pocketed conservative donors and Republican voters are desperate to depose the man they consider Jimmy Carter redux or worse. Democrats on Capitol Hill privately display nearly as much disdain for the Administration as their GOP counterparts, complaining about both its incompetence and its ideology. Most of all, Obama now owns a weak economy and hasn't been...

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