“The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, “˜you are on your own,'” Obama told a crowd of 200 donors over lunch at the W Hotel. – Obama: If We Lose in 2012, Government Will Tell People “˜You’re on Your Own’

Just in time for Halloween. Election Day 2012 is already starting to sound like fright night.

What a difference two years makes. Pres. Obama is finding what he brings just isn’t enough. So, it’s fear for 2012.

The biggest weapon Republicans have against Obama, if they can get their act together which is by no means a given, is that their voters are enthused, but Democrats and progressives are not. It’s one reason candidate Obama and his team are choosing fright politics: if we scare the crap out of the consequences of conservatives being in charge, maybe that will motivate people, since nothing else will.

From Carville-Greenberg:

Even as the Republican Congress has taken the biggest hit, the President is not immune from voters’ anger. Voters have registered their anger with Obama as economic conditions and outlook have declined, and as he is seen as increasingly unable to affect positive change. His approval is down 5 points since August, and now stands at 40 percent (with 53 percent saying they disapprove of the way he is handling his job as president.)

The biggest drop-off has come among his broad base”“79 percent of Democrats now say they approve of the President’s job performance, the lowest in our tracking. The biggest decline has come from young people and minorities. Among minority voters, 63 percent now say they approve of the president’s job performance, the lowest in our tracking. More significant is the drop-off among young people, who voted for the president by huge margins in 2008. Less than 40 percent of young people (under age 30) now say they approve of the President’s performance, 54 percent disapprove. This is a significant drop since August when a majority of young voters (52 percent) approved of the way the president was handling his job, 42 percent disapproved. That is a net 26-point decline in two months.

However, the general mood is one of discontent with both Democrats and Republicans, something both big parties have earned.

But Obama is also at 45 percent”“winning only 85 percent of those who voted for him in 2008. More significant is the bloc of voters who now withhold support from both candidates. Since August, the number of voters volunteering that they will vote for neither Obama nor Romney has doubled.

This is clearly an anti-Washington, anti-Wall Street moment, highlighted by the recent Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Washington protests. Voters are rapidly losing their faith in both to turn things around. And recent news out of Washington does not bode well for anyone in the establishment.

The problem with the youth vote decline is that the likelihood of these voters coming back is somewhere between slim and nil. The good news for team Obama is they’re not likely to vote for Republicans either.

But as bad as the news for Obama is, Mitt Romney gets some very bad news in this poll.

The President is in a competitive race because Mitt Romney remains an unattractive alternative for many voters. Romney is stuck at 45 percent on the vote “”virtually unchanged all year. He is not popular, and his personal ratings are not improving. His mean thermometer rating is at just 43.1 degrees, the lowest since we began tracking. As the only Republican who seems to have any staying power, for now, voters are left with this choice. As a result, more people are volunteering they will vote for a third party candidate for President.

Seniors, who gave Romney an advantage in August, have begun to desert the Republican front-runner, who is now losing these voters by a 3-point margin. More dramatically, Romney was winning 52 percent of independent voters in August; he is now at 45 percent with this key bloc. His biggest drop has come among independent women”“who swung for Romney by a 22-point margin in August. Obama is now winning independent women by 2 points.

The stunning conclusion is that as popular as Barack Obama was in 2008, coming in with the world and the people at his feet, the press panting at what his presidency might bring, he’s now blown it all. Yes, he could win a second term, though it won’t be easy. However, the thrill is long gone.

With a Republican House likely to remain, the Senate going Republican, it means a second term for Obama will be as ugly as most second terms. However, if Pres. Obama wants to, he will be able to do start carving away at entitlements and finally get his “grand bargain.”

Whether it’s Obama or Romney, because Cain and Perry can’t beat him, entitlements will be back on the table. So does it really matter which one of these establishment men get in?