As a new poll suggested that a majority of Americans expect him to be a one-term president, Barack Obama called himself an "underdog" with a faltering economy seriously impairing his chances of re-election in 2012.
"Absolutely," he told ABC News on Monday when asked about whether the odds were against him come November 2012, given the economy. "I'm used to being the underdog. But at the end of the day people are going to ask - who's got a vision?"
The American people, he conceded, are "not better off" than they were four years ago. "The unemployment rate is way too high," he said of the 9% jobless rate, the highest in more than half a century.
With a job approval rate hovering at around 40%, Obama would not handicap the 2012 election. But he called the 2012 race a "contest of values and vision" and a referendum on whether Americans believed the government should invest now in long-term improvements in education and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll just 37% Americans expect Obama to win re-election in November 2012, while 55% instead expect the eventual Republican nominee to win.
Democrats do expect Obama to win, but they say so only by 58-33% - a comparatively tepid vote of confidence within his own party.
Republicans, by contrast, smell victory by a vast 83-13%. And independents - the linchpin of national politics - by 54-36% expect the Republican candidate to beat Obama.
However, ABC News said the public does not always nail such prognostications, and with the election more than a year away - and the Republican contest still highly unsettled - much can change.