The presidential election of 2008 was the first occasion since the 1952 election, when neither the sitting president nor sitting vice-president was one of the major party nominees. It may also be notable, that in 1952 the winning candidate was not known for a long political resume, and the sitting president was going through a period of largely undeserved unpopularity. Similarities between the two situations create an opportunity for comparison.
General Eisenhower won the White House in 1952 by a comfortable margin, despite having held no federal office outside his term as a general officer of the United States Army and SHAEF. He was a popular president yet made remarkably few significant decisions, except for his principled stand for desegregation. Eisenhower won re-election in a romp, yet the GOP fared less well, never gaining control of the Senate either during the Eisenhower years nor in the generation following, and though the GOP took control of the House of Representatives in 1952, they lost it in 1954 and the democrats increased their control in each succeeding election through 1960. The popularity of President Eisenhower did not carry over to the republican candidates for the House and Senate. With the present democrats enjoying support at historically dismal levels, there is reason to believe that the American public may separate its impression of Barack Obama from the Democratic Party in general.