Could Obama survive a referendum election?

President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a campaign rally at The Ohio State University, Saturday, May 5, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.
AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari

(CBS News) Come November, voters will decide whether President Obama deserves another four years in office. Should voters make that decision based on his performance in his first term, it's doubtful they'll grant him a second term, conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said Monday on "CBS This Morning."

"People are going to look at the last three years and say, okay, we know what that was. If you want more of that, you can rehire, re-elect the fellow who's the leader then," she said.

Noonan conceded that Mr. Obama came into office under terrible conditions, with an economic crisis and two wars under way. However, she added that he won the 2008 election by 9.5 million votes, was "enormously popular," and had the benefit of Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate.

He had "the wind at his back," she said. "He could do anything, plus an air of crisis to push things forward. Some people look at what he did and say, 'He didn't do the right thing. Didn't help enough.'"

Former Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley noted that Mr. Obama acted "very decisively" on the challenges before him, such as the wars and the recession. Bradley said Mr. Obama "didn't get as much as he wanted" out of his first term because of the role of money in politics.

"I think it is the Washington club and money that has prevented him from achieving, what he set out to achieve in the fullest sense of the word, even though he has made a lot of progress," he said.

Bradley said the 2012 election shouldn't simply be a referendum on Mr. Obama. "I think that it should be a referendum on who would be the best leader in the next four years, given our circumstance," he said.

Bradley said voters will ask themselves, "Who do I trust with my life? Who do I trust with my job? And who has a view of life remotely similar to my own?"