US President Barack Obama may face his first big scandal pretty soon, according to a leading political scientist. Based on his mathematical formula, Brendan Nyhan of Michigan University has predicted in his report to ‘Center for Politics’ website that President Obama’s administration is set to be rocked by a major controversy soon. The political scientist defines scandal as the “elite perception of misbehaviour whose occurrence is also influenced by political and media context”. And, according to him, the likelihood of a scandal hitting America’s first black President may unfold before the 2012 presidential election, rising between 95 and 100 per cent by June of next year, the Daily Mail reported. “Obama has been extremely fortunate: My research on presidential scandals shows that few presidents avoid scandal for as long as he has,”says his report based on interpretation of data from presidential scandals between 1977 and 2008.
Nyhan says his research is supported by the lack of support among Republicans for the Obama administration, and predicts the US President will follow “a similar trajectory to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton (who both suffered significant first-term scandals).” He noted discontent among Republicans could contribute to encourage “opposition legislators and members of the news media to promote allegations of misconduct” against President Obama who has been in office for a little over 24 months.
Nyhan admits the probability of a scandal greatly depends on the direction media coverage in the coming months. “Continued unrest in the Middle East or other news events,” he wrote, could also “dampen the odds” of a scandal breaking. In fact, he claims to have tested his hypotheses on scandal coverage data from ‘Washington Post’ news reports and chronologies of presidential events covered by The New York Times newspaper. “In the 1977-2008 period, the longest that a president has gone without having a scandal featured in a front-page ‘Washington Post’ article is 34 months — the period between when President Bush took office in January 2001 and Valerie Plame scandal in October 2003,” he wrote.