How today's dramatic drop in the unemployment rate may have sealed President Obama's reelection
President Barack Obama, still bruised from his poor debate performance against Mitt Romney on Wednesday, got some swag back on Friday with a reduced unemployment number in September that brought the jobless rate down to a level unseen since January 2009 when he took office.
The new threshold carries more political than economic weight because it helps change the tone of the political coverage in a 24- to 48-hour period, and that helps the Obama campaign change the subject from Wednesday night’s debate. In addition, do not underestimate the psychological impact of the unemployment rate falling BELOW 8%. It’s been a weight around the president’s leg politically for years, not months. How many times have Republicans said, “He promised unemployment below 8%!”
What should also be remembered is that the rising unemployment rate from the Bush administration rose up to 10.1% less than one month after his administration was coming into the door in March 2009.
To be honest at this point the unemployment number itself is less important than the trajectory of the economy, the Obama team will continue to argue that things are getting better and do you want to risk that progress by going “back” to the same economic policies that caused the recent “Great Recession” that we are now finally crawling out of.
In addition, do not underestimate the psychological impact of the unemployment rate falling BELOW 8%. It’s been an anchor around the president’s leg politically for years, not months. How many times have Republicans said, “He promised unemployment below 8%!”
As for White Communications Director Dan Bartlett recently put it, "as long as people are seeing improvement, at least some voters are going to say to themselves, 'well, best not to switch horses in the middle of the stream.'"