Everybody has an opinion on politics, and I am no different. When it comes to the presidential election, I think Obama will take it, and not just cause he's ahead in the polls. There's historical precedent on his side, and moreover, the election is likely to reflect an underlying statistic, which is easier to make predictions about. I'll tell you what I think each are...
First, the historical precedent. America is entering a recession not unlike the one which preceded the Great Depression. I say preceded because the recession was just the economic correction of over inflated asset markets (sound familiar?), and would likely have been painful but short if not for the actions of the government in response to it. Instead of letting the markets correct and the participants take their losses, the people elected socialist leaning representatives to make the government solve their problems by nationalization. This, in turn, plunged the country into the depression, since they were intent on punishing "evil" industry while spending huge amounts of money the government didn't have on social programs the government couldn't afford. When that didn't work, they promised more spending and more socialism as the cure. It wasn't until WW2 that the government was forced to restart industry, and the country could actually recover.
Now, I'm not saying that Americans don't learn from history; I'm sure there are a few intelligent people out there who realize that socialism and more government spending do not help our economy at all. Unfortunately, those people are not in the majority at the moment, so it looks likely we'll get more socialism and more obscene amounts of government spending and anti-industry legislation.
Which brings me to the second point, the underlying statistic which is easier to predict. You see, it stems from a seemingly simple, yet understated principle: intelligent people think. In thinking, you can learn from history, you can analyze economic forces (at a high level, if not at an in-depth level), and you can recognize and filter through empty rhetoric and underlying socialism. You can extrapolate out potential effects of destroying what's left of our wealth generating industrial capability, converting to a nationalized industry of consumption and debt spending without production, and the likely outcomes of massive government interference and manipulation in every aspect of our economy. In short, an intelligent person can likely see past the pretty facades and flowery speeches, and see which candidate is more likely to cause less destruction to our country; which, in the case of this election, is not even very hard.
Given that, predicting the outcome of the election boils down to predicting if the majority of the independent "swing" voters (the 40% or so who are not hardcore supporters of either party) are intelligent, thinking people, or rather are more like automatons, swayed by flowery rhetoric and creative advertising. For that, one has to look no further than the campaign rhetoric, the proliferation of advertising in the country (and its relative success), and the voting patterns of the voters. Consider that in California, for example, we re-elected a Congress person after she has defaulted on a loan, defrauded the bank, stole the money to pay for her campaign, lied about it, bribed the bank to get it back, and payed off the investor who legally purchased it at foreclosure to cover it up. We have elected a Congress with a 9% approval rating, the lowest in recorded history. Americans are in debt up to their eyeballs, and are once again in virtual unison clamoring for the government to bail them out, like deja-vu.
I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that given the above, Obama will win the election. As always, though, it's just my opinion, I could (and am holding out hope that I will) be wrong.