Exploring the similarities between 1982 and today

Does Obama in 2010 = Reagan in 1982?
Does Obama in 2010 = Reagan in 1982?

As Democrats grapple with the stagnant economy and President Barack Obama's crumbling approval ratings, expect to hear this comparison a lot: Barack Obama in 2010 = Ronald Reagan in 1982.

On the surface, the comparison is compelling. Reagan and Obama succeeded unpopular incumbents and rode a wave of goodwill into office. During their first two years, both presidents faced brutal recessions, and their approval ratings took big hits. Reagan's Republican Party ended up losing 26 House seats in the 1982 midterm elections (increasing the Democrats' majority). Yet only two years later, after the economy had regained its footing, Reagan won a landslide re-election victory.

Naturally, Obama partisans hope the same will happen in 2012.

So when we heard Mary Jordan, a longtime foreign correspondent with the Washington Post, use this analogy during the roundtable segment of ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour, we decided it was time for a fact-check.