Friday, October 5, 2012

More good news for Obama in the Sept job numbers

There is more good news for Obama in the September job numbers.

(A) Best election year job improvement since 1984

Nate Silver at took a look at changes in the unemployment rate during election years going back to 1952.  He finds a definite relationship between the growth/decline of unemployment and an incumbent President’s chance of being re-elected.  He finds good news for Obama in the new September job numbers. 

Silver says, “The decline in unemployment under Mr. Obama this year since December is the largest in an election year since Ronald Reagan’s re-election bid, when it declined to 7.3 percent in Sept. 1984 from 8.3 percent in Dec. 1983.”  Unemployment declined from 8.5% to 7.8% under Obama.

Of course, writes Silver, “The drop in unemployment alone is no guarantee of re-election — there was also a considerable drop in unemployment in 1976, and Gerald Ford lost.”

Still, the improvement in the jobs picture comes at a good time for Obama.

(B) Jobs report likely to offset Romney’s debate performance gains

I would add one other thing.  Romney’s debate performance as I said in a post yesterday will probably give him a small bounce in the national and battle-state polls of maybe 1% to 2%.  Today’s job numbers will probably benefit Obama.  What we may see is that whatever gain Romney got from the debate has now been offset by the gain Obama got from the 7.8% unemployment figure.  So, the polls over the weekend may show that nothing much has changed.  The race may have tightened a little but that was already happening.  At least 95% of the people who will vote have already made up their minds and are unlikely to change their minds.  Some have already voted. The few undecided who will make up their minds at the last minute are likely to decide either not to vote or to just go ahead and cast their vote along party lines, Democratic leaners going for Obama and Republicans leaners for Romney.

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