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. Friday’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 downhill.
Friday 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 which 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. Romney’s go 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 offer a weak explanation that it's because Americans are losing hope and dropping out of the labor force.
The latest 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 in the race for the White House.
Douglas E. Schoen has served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton. He has more than 30 years experience as a pollster and political consultant. He is also a Fox News contributor and co-host of "Fox News Insiders" Sundays on Fox News Channel at 7 pm ET. He is the author of 12 books. His latest is "The Nixon Effect: How Richard Nixon’s Presidency Fundamentally Changed American Politics" (Encounter Books, February 2016). Follow Doug on Twitter @DouglasESchoen.