Analysis: Elections down, presidential campaign begins

(Reuters) – With the 2010 elections in the rearview mirror, the 2012 presidential campaign is now under way and would-be candidates are asking themselves: Is President Barack Obama beatable?

Obama’s job approval rating is at a mediocre 45 percent, his handling of the U.S. economy gets a thumbs-down from voters so far, and he faces the challenge of seeking compromise with Republicans who seized control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Over the next few months more than a dozen Republican leaders will decide whether they think they can raise enough money and gain sufficient media attention and voter support to seek their party’s nomination for president.

Republicans have no natural candidate to turn to in 2012 like they have had in past elections, meaning a free-for-all is likely between the likes of Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and others.