Updated at 9:47 a.m.
When the latest monthly employment report was released Friday morning, you can bet that the White House had a very close eye on it.
No, we're no longer in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign, in which each report served as an important political marker in the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney, with both sides pointing to the unemployment rate as a sign of progress or failure. But the reality is that while the report doesn't get nearly as much attention -- at least not in a political context -- these days, it's still a important part of the president's political standing.
The unemployment rate dropped in 41 states in September, including many of the top swing states in the presidential race, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As we noted this a.m. in Morning Fix, the state-based unemployment numbers can actually be a better indication of how the voters that matter in the 2012 election (i.e. swing state voters) are viewing the economy than the national unemployment figures.
There is very little good news for President Obama in the new August jobs report, despite the fact that the unemployment rate technically fell.
The number of jobless American workers decreased from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent in August, according to new figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That might seem good on the surface, but in reality it’s because a huge number of people simply gave up trying to find work and dropped out of the pool of potential workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its July jobs report this morning — an assessment that didn’t exactly show considerable growth in the economy over the past month. And from a political perspective, that means one thing: President Obama is running out of time.
Because polling — both in this campaign and in past races — suggests that public perception on major issues (economy, Iraq, etc.) cements several months in advance of the actual vote, barring some sort of cataclysmic event.
The news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning that the economy added just 80,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate stayed stuck at 8.2 percent suggests that any hope that President Obama will be able to run for reelection bolstered by an improving financial picture is rapidly disappearing.
The three summers of President Obama’s first term in office have been decidedly unkind to him on the economic front, a trend that puts even more importance on this morning’s June jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In each of the past three summers, the unemployment rate has bumped upwards while the job creation numbers have either leveled off or dipped downward. That trend — plus the fact that we are 123 days before the election — makes the BLS’s 8:30 announcement of the utmost political importance.
The September jobs report — 103,000 jobs created, unemployment rate steady at 9.1 percent — is neither good enough to provide President Obama a real boost as he makes the case for passage of his jobs bill nor bad enough to significantly embolden his Republican critics on the campaign trail and in Congress.
You can’t get 75 percent of people to agree to much of anything these days.
But according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 75 percent of Americans agree that millionaires should have their taxes raised.
This is the crux of President Obama’s tax policy and perhaps the best-known aspect of the jobs plan he has put before Congress.
We have talked a good deal in this space about how many aspects of President Obama’s jobs plan poll quite favorably.
And that’s true.
But as we always note here at The Fix, the devil is in the details when it comes to political polling. And the GOP is searching for said devil as we speak.
They haven’t found it yet, but party strategists believe that the jobs bill isn’t as clear cut a political winner for Obama as polling has shown it.
House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) made abundantly clear in a speech today that tax increases should be off the table as the so-called “supercommittee” — their capes are still on order — begins its negotiations about bringing down the nation’s debt.
“When it comes to producing savings to reach its $1.5 trillion deficit reduction target, the Joint Select Committee has only one option: spending cuts and entitlement reform,”said Boehner. (Isn’t that two options?)
Boehner’s pledge comes just days after a rough sketch of President Obama’s own deficit reduction plan, which will be formally unveiled next Monday, emerged with a series of tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals.
So that’s where we are.Call it irresistible force meets immoveable object. Or, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
It hasn’t been a good month for President Obama, but beneath it all, the American people are still ready to hear him out when it comes to his jobs plan.
And in fact, at first glance, they seem to like it.
Two new polls show more Americans like the president’s jobs plan than dislike it. A CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 43 percent favor Obama’s jobs plan, while 35 percent oppose it. And Gallup shows an even wider gap, with 45 percent in favor and 32 percent opposed.
With less than majority support, it’s hardly a resounding affirmation of the president’s policies, and much has yet to play out. But the numbers do show that the American people haven’t written off the president’s economic ideas, even as the economy has tanked.