The economic indicators that matter most in presidential politics

There are three economic indicators that matter most in presidential politics: the Dow Jones Industrial Index, the unemployment rate and the price of gas. So far, President Obama is doing well on the first, okay on the second, terrible on the third.

Today’s jobs report was mostly negative for the president in that it indicated the continuing weak nature of the recovery and its vulnerability to other negative factors, such as gas prices. But one should not overlook the fact that the unemployment rate went down another tick. If unemployment falls below 8 percent, that will be a significant favorable for the president. If people are able to open their 401(k)s and see some restoration of their nest eggs, that, too, will strongly help the president's prospects in November.

So the Dow and the unemployment rate are with the Obama program. But those nasty gas prices threaten to spoil the whole thing.

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