Veterans' benefits are better
. There hasn't been much in the mainstream news about this, but the Obama administration has supported a range of improvements in military benefits. Veterans' health care access and quality have improved, job training and child care are more available, and mortgage fees for deployed military have been reduced. Veterans who've benefited from the changes may well thank the president with their votes in November.
Congress caused the gridlock
. The news has been packed with embarrassing stories about how badly members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have behaved of late. The U.S. even suffered a humiliating downgrade from Standard & Poors because Congress couldn't come together to manage the nation's finances. Voters know that it's Congress, and not the president, that has gummed up the works of the federal government, and Congress' approval ratings are shockingly low. A vote against Congressional antics may well equal a vote for Obama.
He's a great communicator
. Obama and his campaign advisors have already demonstrated their skill at reaching out to voters through the Internet. That will give the president an advantage over his Republican rivals, who seem to be less tech-savvy. (Of the four contenders for the Republican nomination, only Mitt Romney even has a searchable Web site.) Young voters in particular are likely to respond again to the president's call; if you tweet them, they will vote.
He's an even better debater
. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has emphasized his own public speaking skills, arguing that he's the only Republican hopeful who could beat Obama in a one-to-one debate. Gingrich may well be right, but it doesn't look as though he'll be the Republican nominee. Mitt Romney has already demonstrated a knack for making unfortunate verbal gaffes behind the podium, while Obama has demonstrated time and again that he can make his points while remaining calm, cool and, well, presidential. That contrast is likely to push independent voters in Obama's direction.
He's the cutest guy at the dance
. None of the remaining Republican candidates is an unqualified superstar. Romney and Gingrich both have persistent problems with likeability and, while the president needn't necessarily be likeable to do the job, most voters seem to prefer candidates with whom they'd like to be personal friends. Former Senator Rick Santorum is likeable as all get-out, but his strongly conservative, faith-based views on social issues are liable to alienate more moderate voters. Ron Paul's libertarian philosophy is shared by few mainstream Americans. President Obama, by contrast, has a real gift for connecting with people on a down-to-earth level. Voters who don't like the eventual Republican nominee will likely turn to Obama even if they don't agree with all of his positions.
A lot can happen in seven months, and the outcome of the presidential election is far from certain. Still, at least for now, it looks as though this election is President Obama's to lose.