• Barak Obama made history four years ago when he was elected the first African-American president, having campaigned on the platform of "hope and change."

    Now, many people are hoping there is a change. But what are the factors that would cause an incumbent president to lose a bid for re-election?

    In the past 40 years, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush have all lost their re-election bids. But Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were re-elected.

    We learn something from those elections, and we also find out that in order for Barak Obama to get a second term, he has to win in certain districts and a few key states, win over voters of special interests and specific demographic groups, and he has to convince Americans that he is both likable and competent.

    An election involving an incumbent is ultimately a referendum on the incumbent, and the Republican doesn't have to win, he just has to make sure the Democrat loses.

    How could President Obama keep from being a one-term president? He has to keep a solid lead with women, which Democrats typically do, but his lead is not as solid as it was four years ago. He currently trails Mitt Romney in polls as to who would be best to handle the economy, which is the main issue concerning voters, and key states he won four years ago now appear to be likely states he might lose this time, such as Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia and North Carolina, where he will travel for his coronation -- er, uh, nomination -- at the Democrats' National Convention.

    While President Obama is likely to win the younger vote, that vote so far appears to be far more tepid than before, especially in light of bad job numbers and loss of optimism among younger voters. Obama still leads in the likability factor, but worries over economic issues are now outweighing the love issue among recently polled voters.

    Bottom line -- this election shapes up to be a colossal battle that will go to the wire.