President Obama’s only claim to reelection is that he and his team steadied America during its time of economic uncertainty and are, albeit slowly, growing the economy. Today’s anemic jobs numbers show that in fact the economy is not recovering, but rather, unfortunately slipping away, and with the state of the race as it is, the election possibly irrevocably too.
But since then things have gone down hill. Today we discovered that in March we created 143,000 new jobs, 10,000 less than we originally thought. Not robust growth, but certainly no cause for panic. In April, however, we added just 77,000 new jobs, a figure that has been revised downward from 115,000.
In May we netted just 69,000 jobs, revised downward from a projected 150,000. Further bad news, the unemployment rate has climbed up to 8.2%. I think both my fellow Americans and especially the Obama administration have cause to worry.
Today’s lackluster jobs figures are symptomatic of a weak economy, and that’s disquieting for all Americans. But with several new polls being released recently that show the President virtually tied with Romney in three crucial swing states (Colorado, Iowa, and Nevada), this is especially troubling for the Obama reelection team.
An obvious observation: a best-fit line showing the amount of jobs created would be going downward, steeply. Another observation: if one were to draw a best-fit line through Obama’s poll numbers in the three states mentioned above, it too would be going downward. And Romney’s: going up.
The three are most definitely intertwined.
The President and his team have been campaigning as our economic saviors, throwing around counterfactuals and speculations about how bad things could have been. The problem with that, highlighted by the recent economic data, is that things are already pretty bad.
You cannot campaign that you are saving the economy if the unemployment rate goes up, and, when it goes down, only because Americans are losing hope and dropping out of the labor force.
The poll numbers signal a shift in the race: the American people see that Obama and his team are no longer presiding over a recovery, and are in fact incapable of doing so.
This spells disaster for the President. The economy is weak. Americans no longer see him as the man capable of fixing this. All this is reflected in the polls. If Romney can take advantage of this shifting momentum, he may begin to dramatically pull ahead.
Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist, Fox News contributor, and author of several books including the recently released, “Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond” (Rowman and Littlefield).
I invite you to follow me on Twitter @DouglasESchoen