Nate Silver handicaps the presidential race

If you're into the nuts and bolts of politics, you will probably enjoy liberal pollster Nate Silver's take on the 2012 presidential race.

If not, here are the money grafs:

Obama does indeed have a "Jewish problem." Polls find that his standing among Jews has deteriorated: only about 54 percent of them approved of his performance in the most recent Gallup survey. But this is to be expected when a president has a 40-something approval rating. He also has a Hispanic problem and a problem among the white working class. He has a problem in Ohio and a problem in Florida and a problem in New Hampshire. He even has, to a mild extent, an African-American problem: Obama's approval ratings among black voters are still high, but down to about 80 percent from 90 percent.

All of these, however, are symptoms of Obama's larger problems, a set of three fundamental misgivings shared by much of the American electorate.

• First, many of us understand that Barack Obama inherited a terrible predicament. We have a degree of sympathy for the man. But we have concerns, which have been growing over time, about whether he's up to the job.
• Second, most of us are gravely concerned about the economy. We're not certain what should be done about it, but we're frustrated.
• Third, enough of us are prepared to vote against Obama that he could easily lose. It doesn't mean we will, but we might if the Republican represents a credible alternative and fits within the broad political mainstream.

Each of these factors, in turn, can be quantified.

• The first factor, Americans' performance reviews of Obama, can be measured through his approval ratings.
• The second factor, economic performance, can be measured through statistics like G.D.P.
• The third factor - essentially, the ideological positioning of the Republican candidate - is sometimes thought of as an "intangible." But it can be measured too, and it matters a great deal.

The bottom line is that Obama is vulnerable but predictions regarding his demise may be a little exaggerated.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

If you experience technical problems, please write to