Will the jobs report hurt Obama all that much?

posted at 7:00 pm on June 1, 2012 by Karl

My initial reactions to today’s dismal jobs report mirror those of TNR’s Jonathan Cohn: (1) this is just plain bad for Americans; and (2) discussion of its political impact is inevitable. While people are reeling in the immediate wake of the bad news, just how bad is it for Pres. Obama’s reelection chances? Perhaps not as bad as our knee-jerk reactions would suggest.

Remember that America is increasingly politically polarized. As John Sides has noted (with charts): “Partisans are happy to vote for their party under most any circumstance and often rationalize their view of the economy accordingly.” This is confirmed in public opinion polls from Gallup and Pew, among otheres. Perceptions of a decaying economy will matter much more to pure independents.

But how much will the jobs report change perceptions? Undoubtedly, it will have some effect. But the report is (ostensibly) merely reflecting the reality already baked into the economic cake. Most people probably do not need the government to tell them the economy is limping (and would distrust any government telling them otherwise).

In addition, Team Obama’s mobilization campaign strategy is already geared to the bad news environment. Their campaign is built around appealing to a coalition based on minorities and upper-middle-class whites. The black vote is solidly Democrat and likely even more solidly Obama. The main concern there is turnout, which may be why the Obama administration is both coaching and inciting black churches regarding political activism. Team Obama is more likely to lose some traction among Hispanic voters, although it is doubtful that Mitt Romney can do as well with this demographic as amnesty-friendly Dubya did in the last decade. As for the yuppie white vote, unemployment is only four percent among those with college degrees (and presumably comparable for the white portion of the demo). Perception that the economy is bad outside their general social sphere is the factor here, but again questionable.

Today’s jobs report will hurt Obama at the margins — and in a close campaign, the margins are crucial. However, if reports like these do not cause a sea change in Obama’s prospects, do not be surprised.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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A normal person, a person who was not OBDURATE would WAKE UP and tell his democrat Majority leader in the senate to pass the bills sent to him by the republican House because they are the will of the people.

Fleuries on June 1, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Do technical reports like this ever ‘hurt’ politicians, bearing in mind that most voters don’t pay any attention to such reports?

YiZhangZhe on June 1, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Barack Obama
The Man of a Thousand Excuses
And just as many lies

VorDaj on June 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

maybe other areas of the country are in better economic shape to only have %8.2 unemployment. congrats to them. In rural Virginia, we are suffering.

the libs say if we send more unemployment money & throw more money at education & shut down all small businesses (you pick a reason–the Dems think of ‘em all), then we’ll all be happy.

& some people believe the libs.

Obama has zillions to buy this election.

kelley in virginia on June 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Will the jobs report hurt Obama all that much?

Only his job…

Electrongod on June 1, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Today’s jobs report will hurt Obama at the margins — and in a close campaign, the margins are crucial.

That is really all you needed to say. If this bad news about jobs continues he’s toast.

CW on June 1, 2012 at 7:07 PM

on the margins are all we need. a couple of percentage points

gerrym51 on June 1, 2012 at 7:07 PM

It’s way too far from election day to matter.

People only pay attention ON election day.

so-notbuyingit on June 1, 2012 at 7:08 PM

The Man of a Thousand Excuses

VorDaj on June 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

He sounds like a broken record.

For the youngins this is a record.

CW on June 1, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Yes, when people look at their 401Ks today they will not be amused.

Up until now Obama has managed to prop up the DJI number by pumping fake money into the system. We’ll see where it goes from here.

forest on June 1, 2012 at 7:11 PM

It hurts everyone but him. We have to remember he just forgets sometimes. I think that was some groundwork being put down for a criminal defense.

tomas on June 1, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Not really, but the preceding 40 or so and the following 5 will.

HitNRun on June 1, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Does a baseball bat across the teeth hurt?

aquaviva on June 1, 2012 at 7:13 PM

CW on June 1, 2012 at 7:08 PM

heh

cmsinaz on June 1, 2012 at 7:14 PM

L.A Times: Funemployment!

Time: Living at home until age 30 is great!

Pop Culture: Gotta swipe My EBT!

The economy is a non-starter for the true believers.

The Chewbacca Defense on June 1, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Most people probably do not need the government to tell them the economy is limping (and would distrust any government telling them otherwise).

Yeah, but how many AP stories do you read were they’re constantly trying to talk up the ecomomy?

Political axiom: In hard times, people vote their WALLET, not their IDEOLOGY.

GarandFan on June 1, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Yes, this will push even more independents into the ABO camp.

All the hype of the first three months just went up in smoke and was perfect timing for the Solyndra presser yesterday. Not the final nail but nail number 879 out of 1000.

jukin3 on June 1, 2012 at 7:16 PM

This report is devastating to Obama’s political fortunes.

The economic trends upon which Romney has built his campaign are now validated through November. It is now the OBAMA campaign, not Romney, that must re-calibrate its entire framework and in a much worse defensive position.

It will also hurt Obama’s fundraising and improve Romney’s.

Moreover, this report will move MILLIONS of voters because heretofore they’ve been lied to by the MSM that everything is great and getting better. This data puts this falsehood to bed.

matthew8787 on June 1, 2012 at 7:17 PM

The Spielhosensoilerin Chief blames the congress.

Schadenfreude on June 1, 2012 at 7:19 PM

8.1 to 8.2% is not Forward.

There’s that.

faraway on June 1, 2012 at 7:20 PM

matthew8787 on June 1, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Hear! Hear!

Obama has been trying to peddle his own myth about how, “the trend is improving which proves his leadership is working.” It is a patently absurd claim, but enough of a fig leaf for some low information voters to latch on to. Well, not even he can spin good news out of this. He hasn’t got so much as a turd to polish!

MJBrutus on June 1, 2012 at 7:22 PM

40% of the population doesn’t work, get’s some kind government assistance and will vote for the White House commie to continue getting the assistance. They could give a crap about the job numbers. So no the White House commie won’t be hurt politically all that much.

bgibbs1000 on June 1, 2012 at 7:22 PM

As usual the things that 0 is responsible for won’t harm him at all. He has done great harm to the rest of us and the Country. The folks truly harmed by this manage their way through it. The same will not be said of 0.

Bmore on June 1, 2012 at 7:24 PM

What will ‘help’ him, undeservedly…that the stupid masses have no clue that the current drop in gasoline prices is caused by the low business demands.

Schadenfreude on June 1, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Out: Reagan vs. Mondale annihilation

In: Romney vs. Obama annihilation

hillsoftx on June 1, 2012 at 7:30 PM

40% of the population doesn’t work,

bgibbs1000 on June 1, 2012 at 7:22 PM

A good chunk of them are the 99 weekers who are getting cut off. In fact, a big reason for the rise to 8.2%, I suspect, is that the leading edge of them being forced to start looking for work again. Their horror stories will be the big headlines from now through Nov.

MJBrutus on June 1, 2012 at 7:35 PM

is that the leading edge of them being forced to start looking for work again.

MJBrutus on June 1, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Score one for Obama

CW on June 1, 2012 at 7:40 PM

The more the economy bends toward 0bama’s goal of killing capitalism, the fewer people come out to vote for the super genius and the more our side will crawl across broken glass to vote.

jukin3 on June 1, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Its going to hurt him immensely. The reason is that the media are actually covering this jobs report, and Romney’s scathing response to it, and Obamas weak response. The media have covered up previous jobs reports to help Obama. This one was so bad they knew it was news and they could not hide it on page A6. I think a hell of a lot of people who haven’t paid much attention are saying tonight, WTF? Unemoyment is UP? This is terrible! Then they will see that Obama is going to 6 fundraisers.

Message: I Don’t Care

rockmom on June 1, 2012 at 7:43 PM

This is like the old story about the new reporter who was given the worst of all possible assignments: Go cover the wedding of one of the town’s biggest blue-bloods to another of the town’s biggest blue-bloods on Saturday at 11:00 AM.

Saturday at noon, the editor stops by the office to get his pipe he left at his desk. On his way into the office, he bumps into the new reporter headed out of the office. “Dammit, when I give you an assignment – you cover that assignment. Why the blazes are you here instead of at the wedding?!?”

“Relax, boss. The groom didn’t show up. There was no wedding to cover. So I got to leave early and come over here to check the baseball box scores.”

Hot Air is a good blog. Green Room is the farm team, I guess. Collectively, you are tightly focused on the political box scores – not on what the massive no-show on jobs means for the bigger, more important, national economy story.

Europe is coming apart at the seams. Earlier this week, the Spanish Economic Ministry seriously proposed using Spanish bonds, which had just had seen the market price their interest 4.5% higher than the German bunds, instead of cash to refinance Bankia, one of their banks which is bankrupt. In terms the layperson can understand – the Spanish government proposed using the “vig” on the loan shark money to refinance the bankrupt bank.

The story is NOT about today’s jobs headline. It is the overall global economy or to accurately quote that golden phrase of yesteryear:

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

PolAgnostic on June 1, 2012 at 7:44 PM

What jobs report?

/media

Left Coast Right Mind on June 1, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Jeez, Karl, AP sprint down to the boozer for a couple of gin Gibsons and leave you with the responsibility for the daily Eeyore post?

Basically, old chum, I think you’re working too close to the metal here. You’re getting like those inside-the-beltway pundits back in 1980 who were glucking to one another about how close the Reaga-Carter election was going to be and then — WHAM! — everyone of them was surprised when that slobbering goober got his with a cement truck.

The War Planner on June 1, 2012 at 7:46 PM

his == hit, of course.

The War Planner on June 1, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Maybe they are here but strangely on these job threads I don’t see Upper, Bayam, libfree,etc….hmmmmmmmmmm

CW on June 1, 2012 at 7:47 PM


“It’s the economy, stupid.”

PolAgnostic on June 1, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Correctamundo, carnale!

..hey, Karl, what he said!

The War Planner on June 1, 2012 at 7:51 PM

I actually think the electorate’s preferences are a lot more fluid than Karl indicates. The problem for Republicans is we keep nominating the same types of people. I’m not just talking about their race and gender — it’s their whole general persona which screams Rotary Club, CPA, and G-rated movies with the grandkids. I’m not putting that down; I’m just saying that’s not life as many Americans live it.

It’s easy to put down the preferences of 22-year-old L.A. shopgirls, but when I look at my own motivations for voting Republican, they’re at least in part driven by resentment and anger, rather than anything positive. Are the dreamy nighttime fantasies of The View audience that much worse?

bobs1196 on June 1, 2012 at 7:53 PM

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

PolAgnostic on June 1, 2012 at 7:44 PM

I think Obama may have misread this on TOTUS, seeing instead: It is the economy of stupid.

Mutnodjmet on June 1, 2012 at 7:58 PM

There have been too many ungood job reports in the last 3.5 years. Businesses are not spending, consumers are not spending, and most of us are grateful just to have a job. Europe is sinking and California is a lost cause.

Feeling better, anyone?

Philly on June 1, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Maybe Zero will send David Axelrod to the rescue again. That ought to help.

Philly on June 1, 2012 at 8:10 PM

…it’s the ECONOMY stupid…!!!
.
.
and JugEars has more important things to do

KOOLAID2 on June 1, 2012 at 8:17 PM

I think it’s been easy for the country to become more polarized over the last 16 years or so. Before late 2008 the unemployment has had a very narrow range. Clinton’s 8 years averaged 5.2% unemployment while during Bush’s 8 years it averaged about 5.3%. For 16 years the economy was relatively strong. That’s a long time for people to start voting for social and personal issues. But now that the economy has been in the crapper for 4 years and unemployment has been over 8% for over 3 years I won’t be surprised if there is less polarization. We’ll see those Reagan democrats coming back to the fold. The economy will always trump any kind of social and personal issues.

Capitalist Infidel on June 1, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Here is a free commercial for the Romney camp. Obama, feet on desk in oval office with that smirk on his face. Pan to later in his administration at his “jobs” summit where he yuks it up with, “Guess there weren’t many shovel ready jobs.” I’m laughing my butt off, how about you guys?

arnold ziffel on June 1, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Disagree.

The jobs report hurts Obama because his support is soft, clinging to a hope for recovery which slips away month by month. Lost hope brings realization of failed change, where even a decent percentage of the black vote may surrender to reality, or at least not show up on 11-6-12.

Reality = Obama (the emporer) has no clothes, as is increasingly apparent for those with eyes to see.

exdeadhead on June 1, 2012 at 8:44 PM

This report is devastating to Obama’s political fortunes.

The economic trends upon which Romney has built his campaign are now validated through November. It is now the OBAMA campaign, not Romney, that must re-calibrate its entire framework and in a much worse defensive position.

It will also hurt Obama’s fundraising and improve Romney’s.

Moreover, this report will move MILLIONS of voters because heretofore they’ve been lied to by the MSM that everything is great and getting better. This data puts this falsehood to bed.

THIS

if the election is won in the middle 7%- we just picked up a lot of those voters. for once it is Obamao grasping and flailing in a campaign, while the GOP is running circles around him

this not only helps Romney- but every GOP candidate going up against those weak lib senators so we can control congress

this is huge- you are way underestimating the effect it has when the stock market drops nearly 300 points in one day!!

AirForceCane on June 1, 2012 at 9:01 PM

. As for the yuppie white vote, unemployment is only four percent among those with college degrees (and presumably comparable for the white portion of the demo). Perception that the economy is bad outside their general social sphere is the factor here, but again questionable.

Yeah, but what kind of employment? And how many of them are in debt to their eyeballs? Add to that the fact that they do not live in a vacuum. You could always make the case that in a bad economy there are people who are doing okay, but even if they are doing okay they still know it sucks for a lot of other people..and that makes everyone nervous.

Terrye on June 1, 2012 at 9:21 PM

My brother, who’s an Obama supporter, is pinning his hopes on an improving economy. His argument is that “it’s the first derivative that counts”. If the economy is heading up going into the election, he thinks Obama will win. If it’s flat, it will be a very tight race. If it’s headed down, he concedes that Obama will probably lose.

He admitted that today’s news is “not good. In fact, it’s bad.” He’s still hoping that this is the low point, and the coming months will get better. But he’s a lot more worried today than he was yesterday.

To a large extent I think his analysis is correct. The economy, and the government’s corresponding role, is obviously going to be the dominating issue this year. Obama’s only chance is to argue that his policies took longer to work than expected because of the depth of the Bush recession, but that we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And to make that argument he has to have something to point to — a slight downtick in unemployment, an uptick in GDP growth, whatever. Then he can play the “Reagan card” and attempt to follow Reagan’s “morning in America” re-election path.

This news has hammered that plan, by cementing the public perception that the already-putrid “recovery” is again headed in the wrong direction. Now even if the economic news is flat over the next several months it won’t be enough to save Obama. He needs substantial improvement to overcome the new pessimism. The odds have moved against that, and therefore so have the odds against his re-election.

dpwiener on June 1, 2012 at 9:34 PM

War Planner, Pol Agnostic, etc.:

This is why I wrote:

But the report is (ostensibly) merely reflecting the reality already baked into the economic cake. Most people probably do not need the government to tell them the economy is limping (and would distrust any government telling them otherwise).

It’s the real economy; the report matters only at the margins, in changing perceptions of those for who the economy didn’t seem quite this bad.

And I’ve been writing about people’s inattention to the Eurozone collapse for a while.

Karl on June 1, 2012 at 9:43 PM

This probably hurts Obama a little more than Karl thinks. It is true that we live in a highly polarized nation, most democrats would never ever consider voting for a Republican in this environment so its true that the battle right now is mainly over independents.

That said, bad economics also hurt Obama in terms of turnout. Republicans are already more enthusiastic about voting than democrats, and if the economy keeps going south this will only compound the situation.

Keep in mind, despite how bad the economy actually has been, a not insignificant portion of Americans actually did believe we were in a recovery. If that number shrinks it hurts Obama, regardless if they’re democrats, independents, or whatever.

WolvenOne on June 1, 2012 at 10:39 PM

But the report is (ostensibly) merely reflecting the reality already baked into the economic cake. Most people probably do not need the government to tell them the economy is limping (and would distrust any government telling them otherwise).

It’s the real economy; the report matters only at the margins, in changing perceptions of those for who the economy didn’t seem quite this bad.

And I’ve been writing about people’s inattention to the Eurozone collapse for a while.

Karl on June 1, 2012 at 9:43 PM

I do not wish to be relentlessly critical on this topic. I know life is far easier on this end of the blog than it is out on “the pointed end”.

About 6 weeks ago I started my own random sampling of people across the spectrum from liberal to conservative.

I was surprised to find:

* The economy was the central concern of their lives
* How much self eductation effort they putting into keeping track of it
* How far out of touch they felt the MSM was on the topic
* How they felt the political leaders everywhere where even farther out of touch

People are literally doing their own digging for the truth and then bouncing what they find off of other people they know. This is the sort of behavior we used to call a “groundswell”.

Except this time it feels much bigger. Comparison – 1994 midterms were a groundswell. This year feels more like looking into the maw of the March 2011 tsunami that hit Japan.

The BIG story is NOT a report that you feel “matters only at the margins”.

The BIG story is there is a palpable fear about the economy and jobs from the local to global scale unlike what we have ever seen before and no one in the media seems to be paying attention to it.

It is worth the time and effort to start looking into this now rather than waiting till November and then asking,

“Where the hell did that come from ?!?”

PolAgnostic on June 1, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Well a new Rasmussen Report report shows Consumer Confidence dumped 5 points overnight because of the jobs report. That has to have some effect.

TendStl on June 2, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Sax munce ago I cudn spill report and now I r a reporter!

Herb on June 2, 2012 at 10:15 AM

The BIG story is there is a palpable fear about the economy and jobs from the local to global scale unlike what we have ever seen before and no one in the media seems to be paying attention to it.

This from the people who actually work or want to work for a living.

Owebama supporters are the ones that don’t work and aren’t interested in working. They live off the government teat and feel it’s their right to do so. Unfortunately they aren’t educated enough or can’t think pass their current government check to realized that fewer working people also effects them because there are fewer people to contribute towards their government check.

No one calls Owebama on his class warfare where he tries to convince everyone that millionaires are evil yet Owebama himself is now worth $10 million and collects and spends millions upon millions for his campaign. Something is really scary in America when it takes $1 billion to run a presidential campaign. Do the teat suckers ever notice how much more that money could provide for them? After all, maybe America could offer “free” health care and a “free” house for everyone if so much wasn’t spent on campaigning!

katablog.com on June 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM

I know many lefty types who…
still admire Barry’s highly produced god like persona…
will NEVER vote Republican…
will absolutely support Barry with their votes…
believe that the right is to blame for all the negatives and that Barry has been using his superior intellect to hold back the disaster that Bush handed him…

They are totally in the One’s pocket no matter what… for ever and ever.

But there are a few indies that I know that are so over this guy. They are feeling cheated but will not usually just say so. I think it is the residual fear of being called a racist if they openly oppose Barry… Carter said it was so, the MSM said it was so, and I’m sure they heard it from family and friends who are leftists… But in the booth, I think many of those people will vote with a vengeance… because they are seeing and feeling the Obama economy in their homes…
-

RalphyBoy on June 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Karl, can the ‘wealthy whites’ be neutralized by reminding them of what OWS is doing to them and the Democratic Party leadership’s support for OWS and gouge the rich?

I admired a longish video yesterday of OWS in San Francisco. They destroyed car windows and damaged cars of people eating in the upscale restaurants the protesters marched by. I am sure the people in the windows of those places were pleased as punch to feel threatened that way and see their cars destroyed. I wonder what it takes to “mug a San Francisco Democrat” and turn him or her into a Republican supporter.

{^_^}

herself on June 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM