After nine months in office, with the economy still seeing negative figures on unemployment and foreclosures, it is tempting for the opposition Republicans to believe that the midterm election is a time of major gains, and a forerunner of success in the next Presidential election. However, history tells us otherwise.
Ronald Reagan was President during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the early 1980s, and his party lost seats in Congress in 1982, but then the economy turned around in 1983 and 1984, and he won easy reelection in 1984, winning all states except Minnesota and Washington, DC
Also, realize that even though Bill Clinton lost control of both houses of Congress in 1994, he still went on to victory and a second term in 1996. Also, despite a similar GOP takeover in 1946, Harry Truman went on to a surprise election victory in 1948.
So therefore, historical reality is that midterm elections cannot be considered barometers of presidential elections, and it will still be difficult for the GOP to defeat President Obama IF the economy revives in 2011 and 2012, even if it does not improve short term in 2010.