Election 2012

Why Today's Jobs Report Will Make It Tougher For Mitt Romney to Win in November


Yesterday, Reason's Tim Cavanaugh made a strong case that President Obama is on the path to win a second term later this. Cavanaugh looked at public polling showing the shallowness of the GOP's support for Mitt Romney, the most probable nominee.

But these are not the only numbers Obama has on his side. Important economic indicators are now stacking up in the president's favor as well. Earlier this morning, the Labor Department reported job gains of 227,000 in February, the third straight month in which the department reported the creation of more than 200,000 plus jobs. The department also revised its statistics for the previous two months upwards by 61,000 jobs. 

As Styles-section devotees know, three of anything makes a journalistic trend. The recent jobs numbers are not quite spectacular, but they are certainly solid. And as this chart from The New York Times Economix blog shows, they make for favorable visual comparisons to economic recoveries past:

Meanwhile, as Merrill Goozner points out at The Fiscal Times, recent stock market trends also weigh in favor of President Obama's reelection:

Robert Prechter, founder of Elliot Wave International, last month published a study that correlated stock market performance with U.S. presidential election outcomes.

He found stock market performance over the past year and past three years was a far more powerful predictor of re-election outcomes than Main Street-oriented economic variables as unemployment, inflation and economic growth. Why? The stock market is a fairly accurate predictor of the nation's mood, and when people are feeling good (that is, stocks are up), they vote for the incumbent.

Based on the stock market's performance so far this year and in the three years since its bottom (It has nearly doubled), President Obama wins in a landslide.

None of this is to say that the economy is doing amazingly well; unemployment, after all, remains above 8 percent (this figure is complicated by exits and entries from the job market). But what matters most from an electoral perspective is that the outlook appears to be getting better: Voters respond to the direction the economy is heading prior to the election. 

It also makes Romney's already vague campaign messagea tougher sell. He's running as a Washington outsider who can put his business experience to use as an economic fixer—a turnaround artist on a macro scale. But it will be harder to convince voters to hire someone like that if they feel that the economy is already turning around. 

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  1. Didn’t unemployment go up by 0.5 points this month?

    Also, this seems like an easy sell: Hammer Obama on the “if the stimulus doesn’t pass we’ll have up to 8% employment” load of crap.

    1. Unemployment went up by 0.5% in the non-seasonally adjusted Gallup survey based on polling. That was released earlier this week.

      Unemployment went slightly down in the BLS data released today, which is seasonally adjusted and based on payroll data.

      1. which is seasonally adjusted and based on payroll data.

        You mean based on massaged bullshit.

        1. I never go the idea of “seasonally adjusting” it.

          1. Because there are industries that typically lay off most of their employees at the end of the season and rehire them as “new” employees at the start of the next season. Those spikes and drops would give a misleading view of the overall trend in employment. (There’s also an argument that job losses related to those layoffs shouldn’t be considered “real” job losses because the employees presumably knew that it was seasonal work when they got hired and planned accordingly.)

            1. All seasonal work shouldn’t be considered full-time for the employment #’s then, since they do not average 1500 hrs or more worked a year.

            2. That doesn’t make sense. Having accurate data is better. You can see the trend if you want and not be misled by it. You’ll have a more accurate view of how many people are out of work. If you compare year to the year, the seasonal trends will be accounted for anyway.

              1. Whatever!
                **Runs off sobbing**

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  2. I doubt that many people will feel the economy is turning around just based on their day-to-day life experience.

    1. No kidding. Gas prices alone are painful, and when the Middle East goes up in flames in the coming months, it’s only going to get worse. Plus, parts of Europe will be going bankrupt soon. I can’t imagine that will have a good economic effect on the US.

      As for Romney, the campaign hasn’t really begun. Many people aren’t even paying attention yet. Things will be different in the fall, and much worse for Obama.

      1. Obama will bribe Israel and Iran to keep the Middle East from going up in flames until December. I don’t think he’ll be able to suppress his evil cackle during his victory speech this time.

      2. You also forgot that Fanny and Freddy are dumping tons of cheap foreclosed homes (and other real estate) on the market…meaning everyone’s home values will be heading south and no one will be making any new homes any time soon.

        Note: these homes should have been dumped on the market 3 years ago, and if they had we would be out of this mess by now.

  3. No matter who wins, we’re still fucked. Embrace the suck!

    1. I for one, welcome our new sucktastic overlords

  4. well, you still attack Obama on the economy – the Dems did it to Bush I and Bush II.

    It’s hard to make any predictions about the election (and the economy) this far out. I still give Romney a 60/40 chance of winning, not on economic strengths, but on a message (however false) of a simpler/smaller government, less ‘waste’, lowered spending, etc.

    If ‘bammy does win – well, it’s just ever so slightly quicker descent away from the Republic we once knew.

    1. well, you still attack Obama on the economy – the Dems did it to Bush I and Bush II.

      Oh, come on. It doesn’t go both ways.
      To attack Obama on anything is to show that you are motivated by hate.
      And besides, it’s not his fault that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression (it’s still Bush’s fault).

    2. Attack on the economy then. Earnings of the S&P 500 were $102 in 2011, the highest ever with the best P/E ration ever.

      CPI reflects low inflation, personal net worth is way up, job gains in the private sector are positive 32 months in a row.

      Romney will be seen as just some impediment to recovery by late summer.

      1. the highest ever with the best P/E ration ever.

        The “best P/E ratio ever” is another way of saying “stocks are surprisingly low for investors despite the enormous profit.” The only thing good about such a ratio for investors is that it may presage future gains.

        Of course, that’s largely irrelevant since in no sense was 2011’s P/E ratio that unusual.

        “Best ever?” In what sense? In that “about 20” is a great number, that we’ve been both below and above many times in the last 100 years? That it’s slightly above the long-term average?

        This is a solid jobs report, but I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what you mean by “best P/E ration ever.”

        1. I’ve found you just can’t take shrike’s numbers at face value. Sometimes he’s right (on whatever terms he sets), but sometimes he’s just flat not right.

          Just today, he was saying gas prices were higher in 2008. Well, at one point they were (during the annual cycle high in the summer), but in March 2008 they were actually lower than they are now.

        2. I confess that I don’t know what a CAPE ratio is.

          2011 index was 1200ish / $102 = 12 P/E.

          20 was more normal before the financial collapse.

          1. “Cyclically adjusted” PE?

            I don’t like the sound of that.

            1. I read this as “cynically adjusted.”
              Why not?

              1. HAHA i did also.

          2. But still not “best ever” because the P/E ratio was lower by any measure in late 70s and early 80s. So I still don’t know what you’re talking about.

        3. Cyclically Adjusted P/E Ratio (CAPE) is an enhanced way of calculating the P/E ratio which considers the average inflation adjusted earnings of a company over the last 10 years. This smoothens out the fluctuations in earnings that occur from one year to the next, while still giving a sense of how high or low the price of a particular stock is.

          My bullshit detector is still in great shape.

          1. Ah, so you’re also with the commenters who don’t believe the BLS numbers released today, because they’re cyclically adjusted?

            1. Can we think BLS numbers are bullshit for other reasons?

              Like say after people stop getting unemployment checks they are no longer counted as unemployed?

              Also new workers just out of school and all grows up are not counted as well.

              20 years old and living at mom’s house with no hope of getting a job no matter what you do counts as unemployed to me….for the BLS it does not.

      2. Good summary of how things really started to get better once it was clear that Republicans were going to take the House.

      3. Sure, the numbers look pretty solid. The last time they looked this good was in 2006… which resulted in a massive GOP loss in Congress.

      4. “…best P/E ration ever.”???
        Harvard or Yale?

  5. This is a little odd, as I’m pretty sure I was just reading about signs that the economy may be heading the other direction. That’s without oil or commercial real estate or other possible messes being accounted for.

    1. Not to mention possible wars and further economic disasters in Europe and Asia.

      1. I don’t believe that wars/not wars drive presidential elections. They can tip them when they’re close- especially if the monger of war is a Republican, because it brings out the passion in anti-war Democrats. But when the monger of wars is (in this case) Barack Obama, GOP faithful won’t care- they’re not voting for him anyway, mainstream dems will still vote Obama because the wars are being run by the Right People(tm), and anti-war Dems will look the other way while voting for Obama with a small percentage staying home. Hence the “tip”.

        1. It’s the specific likely wars that are a problem. What happens to gas prices if we take major action against Iran?

          1. In my simple, supply-and-demand world, when you take over an oil producing country, prices should drop. Recent history blows that out of the water.

            As a Chris Rock said, if I occupied KFC, wings would be cheap at my house.

            1. Funny, in my world, oil is sold on a world market, and when war decreases production capacity, the price goes up.

              Iraq’s production has exceeded pre-war levels now, though.

    2. Where Obama is concerned, perception is reality. Sure, the economy isn’t doing so swell and workforce participation rates are still abysmally low, but his loyal lapdogs in the press will churn out story after story touting these awesome numbers and how they show that AMERICA IS BACK, BABY!!! And the average person who’s not a news or political junkie will sit back and say, “Hmmmm, seems like that Obama fella’s doing pretty good these days!”

    3. Been hearing about a CRE collapse for four years.

      Won’t happen – zero chance. The CRE guys recapitalized. Vacancy rates bottomed and even strip mall owners have recovered (see DDR for instance).

      1. Judging by the number of vacancies I can see from my downtown Denver office window, you’re full of shit, Shrike.

      2. I do quite a bit of commercial real estate business, nationwide. The industry is actually quite concerned about the shoe dropping. The question is more when that if. Might not be this year, though.

        1. I get the same. Apartment are going like gangbusters, but even on those, the only lender that will underwrite a big project is HUD.

          1. I think apartments are one area that might be doing okay, but even before the crash, there was a lot of overbuilding. I imagine most of the condo-conversions have been unconverting, too.

            1. I think the best thing that could happen would be more industrial build-outs. Commercial is way overbuilt in just about every market and housing is dead for the long term.

            2. Unconverting from condos has to be a legal nightmare.

              1. I was wondering about the logistics of that, too. Down here, the bubble was so big that many unit owners may have walked away, taking Lord Humongous’ kind offer to live in peace in the Wastes.

                1. Florida has an amazing amount of empty commercial space. It’s always been prone to boom/bust cycles, though.

    4. A lot of indicators are looking really weak – shipping, and I want to say one of the manufacturing indicators.

      The performance of the stock market goes back to a couple of things: cutting costs (where do you think that unemployment comes from, anyway?), and liquidity pumping/financial repression.

      Just talk to people, and you will find that they are experiencing inflation – gas, food are up, housing costs haven’t gone down even though the market has cratered. You will also find that they are no “feeling” the stock market – they can remember having a bigger 401k pre-crash than they do now.

      You can say the economy is doing better, and you can run out statistics (of whatever validity) to “prove” it, but I don’t think most people are experiencing it.

      1. The market seems to have hit a pretty hard cap at 13,000, too, with lots of technicals (low volume on the recent runup, etc.) showing that it is due for a correction, if not a full-fledged pull-back. As ever, on any given day exactly half the people are right about the market, and half are wrong, though, so YMMV.

        1. The VIX says the markets are solid. Of course that indicator can turn on a dime.

          The BDI is no good anymore. Overcapacity screwed up the fundamentals on that.

          1. The P/E ratio is at a point that indicates a crash is unlikely. It’s not nearly as a high as before crashes.

            It’s not as low as it was from the late ’70s until 1990 or so, so I don’t under the “best P/E ratio ever” comment from shrike above, but I don’t see a correction as all that likely.

          2. Fuck the stock market, it represents nothing remotely associated with reality as far as I can tell. HFTs and the big banks run the market to their advantage and their advantage only.

            And keep in mind that the labor participation rate is still trending down. The unemployment data look like shit when that is taken into account.

            1. For me, I find the market a frustration. I’m in no better position now (besides what additional money I’ve invested, to be sure) than I was ten years ago.

              1. My 401k is doing great, but that’s because I only just started it, oh, about three years ago.

      2. One other angle for Obama – whatever jobs are being created, his natural constituencies (minorities, young people) aren’t getting many of them. Look at the breakdown of unemployment numbers, and you’ll see that they are still absolutely terrible for his voters.

        Now, that may mean that they will vote for him as the King of the Welfare State, but I don’t think they are experiencing any economic joy right now.

        1. One other angle for Obama – whatever jobs are being created, his natural constituencies (minorities, young people) aren’t getting many of them.

          Hope. Change.

          You guys need to look at regional hell holes around the country with static, entrenched leadership. People who are hurting will continue to vote for the guy they believe is keeping the other guy from hurting them more.

          1. Stockholm syndrome on a political scale?

            1. To quote the venerable Talib Kweli, “it’s like slaves on a ship talkin’ ’bout who got the flyest chain.”

    5. If gas prices continue to rise, that will be 1) a direct problem for Obama and 2) an indirect problem, because higher energy prices tend to mean slower economic growth. But we’ll have to see where they’ve gone, and what direction they’re going, at the end of the summer.

      1. If gas prices continue to rise, it will mean we need to throw more money down the “renewable energy” hole.

  6. Every election season, every fucking pundit in the world makes predictions, and every fucking one of them is wrong, without fail. Even if they get the winner right, they get the why wrong.

    What will happen? Who the fuck knows?

    1. The Shadow Market Knows

    2. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing someone to pay him for prognosticating.

    3. I do not mean this as a confident prediction by any means. Obama could lose. Obama could win for reasons that have little to do with the economic situation described in the post. But the research is pretty clear that these sorts of economic indicators associate with certain electoral outcomes; they don’t mean that the game is over, but they do change the playing field.

      1. but they do change the playing field.

        It turns it into more of a Canadian Football style field.

        1. 3rd down, Obama should punt.

      2. They are false proxies.

        there are 2 million less jobs today then when Obama took office and it is impossible to create that many jobs in the next 9 months.

        Normally the unemployment rate covers this as recessions tend to be short. The down turn we have been experiencing has been long which means because how unemployment numbers are calculated it misses a shit load of unemployed people.

        People do not look at the unemployment numbers and vote. They look at weather they have a job or not or weather the poeple they care about have jobs or not.

        1. there are 2 million less jobs today then when Obama took office

          opps make that 5 to 6 million less jobs.


          Obama is doomed.

  7. I honestly can’t tell the difference between Romney and Obama, although I believe Romney has a minutely darker tan….and has a tree fetish.

    1. The difference is that Romney gives lip service to supporting the free market while Obama is open in his contempt for it.
      In practice though, no difference.

      1. Just like the difference between George W. Bush and Obama, then? Lip service on a few issues, no real difference.

  8. The reason Obama will probably win is due to one thing….the number of stupid Americans.

    1. I can understand several reasons people would have voted for him the first time. Now that he’s shown what kind of president he’ll be, I’m curious to see how voters react.

  9. If gas prices are over $4 a gallon in November I don’t think even the media will be able to cover up how abysmal this so called “recovery” has been.

    It’s the little things in the family budget -food, gas, utility bills, rent, clothes, etc- that are the most noticeable among the voters. Most voters could care less what the CPI says when the price of milk or bacon has practically doubled in the last two years.

    Of course, if gas goes back to say $3.25 a gallon you might as well cancel the election.

    1. Of course, if gas goes back to say $3.25 a gallon you might as well cancel the election.

      Doesn’t it suck to say go back to $3.25 like it’s a good thing? It sucks that it will never get back below $3.00.

      1. If Ron Paul wins, gas might go back to its natural price for awhile, which would be in the low $2.00 range to keep the alternative sources profitable.

        1. So, like I said. Never back below $3.00. It’s pretty depressing.

          1. I don’t think we’ll see sub $3 a gallon ever again, but I’m still amazed how much the prices dropped after the big $140 a barrel oil spike from a few years ago.

            Either way, as Suderman points out, if the economy continues to slowly crawl out from this hole it will be next to impossible to beat Obama, especially with Captain Romneycare as the challenger.

            1. Unfortunately, pontification aside, as someone stated above, the Suck will continue unabated no matter who wins.

              At this point, my disappointments have become so disappointy, that I don’t really care who wins.

              1. Well, yeah. The suck’s been continuing for longer than I’ve been alive. If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to at least preserve the possibility of somewhat less suckage at some point, and if the executive branch continues to assume control over whatever the hell it pleases, as it has done lately, that’s going to be much more difficult.

    2. Media issues and inane loyalty aside, it’s not just the economy that hurts Obama. I don’t think anyone who isn’t a true believer thinks this is a good president or administration.

      1. He needs another four years to fulfill his vision.

        And no, that’s not me talking, that’s a quote from one of his true believers.

      2. Yeah, but the economy is actually turning around, albeit at a snails pace.

        Compared to when Carter ran for re-election and the economy was tanking along with the Iranian situation, there aren’t that many big crises happening in comparison to really push people over to the other side.

        Obama is doing everything he can to postpone any major issue from erupting prior to November, and without that happening Mittens will not be enough of a contrast to beat him.

      3. I know people who are deep in to the military and foreign policy establishment who think that this is a great Administration, because it completely neutralized the Democratic opposition to our existing foreign policy and established bipartisan precedents for them.

        They’re not true believers in Obama, though I do know one person who favored Obama precisely for this reason (thought he would stay the course on defense/foreign policy plus bring most Dems onside.)

    3. “Of course, if gas goes back to say $3.25 a gallon you might as well cancel the election.”

      This is what is so maddening. If gas prices spike up to well over $5 for the entire summer, making life miserable, but fall to below $4 by November, it will be forgotten and Obama will win. Same with three years of economic misery, which will all be forgotten if we have tepid growth and slowly declining unemployement by summer’s end.

  10. Who really cares about Mitt. Unemployment could jump to 20% and he would still lose. He has no base.

    1. Of course, that’s probably technically wrong upon further reflection. If unemployment jumped to 20%, I strongly suspect the contest wouldn’t be between Obama and Romney, it would be between Obama and someone entirely different.

    2. He has no base.

      8 million Mormons.

      1. Yes, but they were going to vote 85%+ Republican anyway and I suspect have much higher than average voter turnout even in years when one of their co-religionists isn’t running for office.

        1. they were going to vote 85%+ Republican anyway

          Which is the definition of a base.

          What, Obama voters in 2008 were not going to vote democrat if he did not get the nomination?

          Why am I surrounded by armatures!!!

  11. “If gas prices are over $4 a gallon in November I don’t think even the media will be able to cover up how abysmal this so called “recovery” has been.”
    You’re kidding! This is what they do….that is their purpose.

    1. Wow, the magic of what I have often been reassured is the completely irrelevant MSM! They can make the average American voter completely blind to the cost of gasoline!

  12. I think there are two things to keep in mind here.

    1) Just because the economy is improving doesn’t mean Obama will get the credit.

    The economy improved at the end of Bush Senior’s term, and that didn’t do him any good at all.

    Also, the economy was really strong when Al Gore was running to continue whatever it was Clinton was doing–he couldn’t seal that deal.

    So, having a rotten economy might be bad news for Obama, but I’m not sure swing voters will be any more fond of him against a better backdrop either like Gore had either.

    2) The Democrats are defending 23 seats in the Senate, but the Republicans are only defending 10.

    Is it a 50/50 in each of those races? No. But chances are that the Republicans will keep the House and take the Senate. So, even if Obama wins, he may have even less power then than he does now.

    1. My understanding is that the research suggests that late-year gains don’t help as much as early-year trends. What matters most is the trend for the first 6-8 months of the year, not what happens in September and October.

      1. Most people will admit to having already made up their minds based on the candidates’ looks by September or October.

        1. I know, Mitt’s so Presidential, isn’t he?

          1. His hair is perfect.

            1. He should make an appearance at a college somewhere sporting a red energy dome.

              Suddenly the hair would make sense.

              All would be forgiven.

    2. But chances are that the Republicans will keep the House and take the Senate. So, even if Obama wins, he may have even less power then than he does now.

      While I agree the Republican’s will take the Senate, you’re smoking crack if you think the Republicans are keeping the House. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Nate Silver projected several months ago that even if Obama loses re-election by a narrow margin, the Democrats will still take back the House.

      1. Serious question: Has a party ever lost the White House and taken control of the House at the same time?

        The Repubs have 241 Reps, giving them a cushion of 23. If Romney totally screws the pooch, and the economy is looking pretty decent by this fall, maybe I can see the Repubs losing the House. But I can’t see Obama losing the White House AND the Republicans losing the House (oh, AND the Dems losing the Senate*) all at one time.

        Given the number of Dems up for de-election in the Senate this cycle, this is kinda likely in any event.

        1. Not many data points on changes in control of the House because it’s only changed control six times post-WW II and only two of those coincided with presidential elections (1948, 1952, 1954, 1994, 2006, 2010). However, Republicans scored a net increase in seats in 1960 despite Nixon losing and again in 1992 despite Bush losing. Democrats scored a net increase in seats in 1956 despite Stevenson losing, and again in 2000 despite Gore losing. So it’s not implausible for a party to “outperform” its presidential candidate in House races.

          1. Ahh, delicious, crunchy facts. Thanks.

          2. And in 2000 the Dems took a bunch of Senate seats too, took effective control of the Senate after a few months.

            So that’s a recent close comparison.

  13. Not to protest too much, but:

    The Real Unemployment rate

  14. You people put it past Obama to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to drop the price of gas right before the election?


  15. Prechter’s chart isn’t so supportive of the thesis if you look consider the most recent data most heavily, as seems reasonable. He’s counting Nixon’s resignation as correlating with the drop in DJIA (Who uses the Dow for anything these days?). Nixon had, shall we say, very particular factors, and the drop & immediate rebound afterward of the Dow had mostly to do with the uncertainty about him.

    Then look at Bush 1’s “landslide ousting”, which occurred after a booming Dow.

  16. I call bullshit on these numbers. I sell labels, mostly to libraries, and February and so far this month have been deader than ant month and a half in the last fifteen years. Anectdotal I know, but has anyone else actually felt anything but a slight uptick in stocks based on money printing?

  17. The economy is still shit and everybody knows it. I just hope that people aren’t starting to accept this as “the new normal.”

  18. Two things Romney can do that will dramatically help his election chances (and he can do either/or or both):
    1: Tap Ron Paul or Rand Paul as his running mate and publicly support some libertarian social and economic policies. This gets the libertarian wing of the party behind him.
    2: Put a “National Debt” ticker behind him for every speech he gives from here to Election Day, and constantly make reference to it and note how much it has gone up from beginning to end of every speech.

    1. 2A: He needs to propose a balanced budget that dramatically shrinks the federal government and cuts taxes for everyone.

    2. I like them both, but #2 is an awesome idea.

    3. 1) is a non-starter. ROMNIAC didn’t get where he is in the party by questioning the policies that led America into the hole.

      2) is a nice bit of theatrics, but when he does propose his austerity budget he will be (rightly) denounced for either ignoring or increasing military spending.

      1. 1) is a non-starter. ROMNIAC didn’t get where he is in the party by questioning the policies that led America into the hole.

        I was going to respond in detail about corporate types like Romney towing the lion etc., but then I just got depressed. So yeah. This.

      2. Don’t be so sure. Romney wets his finger and sticks it in the air. And if it’s blowing from the libertarian wing when the convention rolls around, he’ll do what he needs to do. He’s a typical politician, which means his election is the most important thing to him. That is what may tempt him to put a Paul on the ticket, and that is one of the things he needs to do to get elected this fall.

        1. But Team Red apparatchiks will always cast libertarians as kooky marginal spoilers who are more concerned with ideological purity than electability. It doesn’t matter how legion libertarian Reds are at the convention, they will be ignored.

          ROMNIAC is setting himself up for a loss in the general that he can blame on Team Blue and maybe libertarian spoilers. Followed by a cushy position as RNC chief or something.

          1. ::sigh::

            You’re probably right, but my steps are a path to victory.

    4. To #2, people will just say he should make shorter speeches.

      1. Sort of like when Bono slowly clapped his hands at concert and said “Everytime I clap my hands, 5 children die.” Someone yelled at him to stop clapping his hands.

        1. [citation please]*

          *It’s not that I don’t believe you. Seriously, I really want to see a video of that. I’ll laugh my ass off at the biggest piece of shit in the world.

        2. Was that before or after she got elected to Congress?

    5. I like #2.

      Unlike what other people suggest, I think Romney will make an effort to tackle deficit.

      However, he won’t do so by cutting anything unpopular.

      He’ll raise taxes. Plain and simple. Probably some sort of VAT. He’ll have no trouble getting the Dems to support this and he’ll find enough GOP members to go along with his. It’ll be his Nixon-in-China moment.

      He’s a businessman, and will see this as a success. He brought disparate groups together. He brought us closer to being in the black. He raised revenue. All good things from a business perspective.

      It won’t matter than he fucked us.

  19. obama has already lost. its been over for years.

    1. No, you’re confusing him with the United States.

  20. I think this election is going to be based on fear. As in, which candidate can convince the most voters that the other guy is going to cause some type of harm.

    I don’t see either one of these candidates running on accomplishments.

  21. when will people understand that the economic health of the nation is in no way shape or form tied to the S&P and Dow averages.

    all this rosy unemployment bullshit is laughable when you realize there are about 3 million less people in the workforce than when Obama took office. The “unemployment” rate doesn’t include people who stopped looking for work. Keep in mind that huge number of people who hit their 99 week benefits benchmark too. They are not counted.

  22. And as this chart from The New York Times Economix blog shows, they make for favorable visual comparisons to economic recoveries past:

    Favorable comparisons? In the past, we’ve had sharp recessions with quick recoveries, and shallow recessions with long recoveries. The last two shallow recessions were called “jobless recoveries” because they took longer than other recoveries– but shorter than this one.

    This is a sharp recession with a long recovery. Not a favorable comparison.

    1. Yeah, I don’t know how you can look at the chart and think it shows positively for this recession.

  23. The crucial thing is what measure is used. NFP? The ‘unemployment’ rate? Employment:Population? Employment to Civilian Laborforce? Considering they disappeared 1M people out of the workforce two months ago, is 200K a month even for an entire year really a big deal?

  24. I have to wonder if Reason (via Tim Cavanaugh and Peter Suderman) have some sort of agenda for these articles saying that Obama will win.

    It is way too soon to say that Obama will win. Too much could happen between now and then to say for sure it will go one way or the other.

    Why are they so eager to make such a prediction?

    1. Political wonk commentators.

      They are addicted to horserace reporting, and failed predictions carry no adverse consequences.

    2. We are in a lull between when everyone discovered the GOP had its candidate and when the GOP actually accepts that it has a candidate.

      This is the lowest point for Romney in the election cycle and like any good human being Peter and Tim completely ignore obvious facts and choose to pontificate.

      It is not a partisan agenda it is just ‘meh” which has no political party.

      1. I will also like to point out that if it is agenda driven then we will see it later on…

        Also considering the multitude of errors in Tim’s original piece i am thinking that demonstrated lack of skill in its presentation that a concerted agenda is unlikely.

        People retroactively voted for Bush in 2004 despite knowing that the real estate bubble was going to blow up in 2007….and Tim fucking brought a house after 2004…


        My guess is Tim got drunk imagined a universe where Obama could win in 2012 then forgot to edit after he sobered up.

    3. Their numbers are, as I’ve mentioned before, pretty close to what Ray Fair’s model says.

      Fair’s model has a pretty good track record, so I agree that it’s a tossup or slight Obama lean.

      1. Does Ray Fair’s model predict the effects of 1 billion dollars worth of superpac bombardment from June until November attacking Obama’s obvious and abysmal economic record that has a zero percent chance of improving?

  25. … it’s nice to see someone setting the wingnuts up for Obama’s victory. They’ll need a lot of time to process. It’s a shame more right-leaning/libertarian commentators don’t do the same.

    1. libertarian commentators

      You are an idiot.

      Libertarians lose no matter who wins….why do we need to be cushioned for that bad news when we already knew it 4 years ago?

  26. Suderman, I have to say, I love the Kill Bill Vol. 2 reference. I am profoundly disappointed no one else seems to have mentioned it.

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