America begins its year-long countdown to presidential elections with the very real possibility Barack Obama could be a one-term president.
The election in 2008 may have been the most exciting for years culminating in the country's first black president but three years on, most Americans believe he will not be re-elected, according to some polls.
We followed Mr Obama's route through North Carolina last month to gauge his chances.
Winning the state, albeit with the slimmest majority, was a crucial part of his election strategy in 2008.
Asheville builder Brad Rice, whose company Bellwether Design and Build has contracted in the Obama economy and laid off workers, remembers Obamamania well.
"It was just exciting. Just something new. He had a lot of good ideas and it just seemed after eight years of George Bush everybody was ready for a change."
But he says the excitement has "worn off" and America has come down to reality: "He said some things and he just hasn't been able to get them done."
In February 2009 Mr Obama himself doubted his chances of re-election if he could not get the economy back in shape.
"A year from now I think that people are going to see that we're starting to make some progress," he told NBC News.
"But there's still going to be some pain out there. If I don't have this done in three years then there's going to be a one term proposition."
So far the economy President Obama inherited from George Bush, already in poor shape, has not improved on his watch.
Growth is a sluggish 2.5%, unemployment a politically radioactive 9% at least.
Local banker David Wooten met the President at the barbecue restaurant he dropped in on in North Carolina and reckons Mr Obama should be worried.
"This area has been hit by unemployment, factories closing. We've had 10% unemployment for a long time and it's the economy in a lot of cases that affects the election. He'll probably have an uphill battle here."
Since Mr Obama toured the state, economic figures have improved but only marginally and, more worryingly, the long-term outlook is equally depressing.
A few days after he swept through the mountain town of Boone, we talked to Philip Ardoin, politics professor at the Appalachia State University.
Mr Obama will not want to hear his analysis.
"I would give him a less than 10% chance of re-election right now.
"Because of the dire situation America is in, and the American people, and that is not necessarily justified, hold the President responsible for the economic situation. And as a result they're going to look for an alternative."