See my latest campaign/media piece here.
Well, it’s not as if I didn’t warn them.
Even before Obama’s acceptance speech last week, most pundits and political reporters were warning that any bounce for the president in his contest with Mitt Romney would surely be short-lived if a disappointing jobs report came out the followining morning, on Friday. It wasn’t a “could” or “might” but “will,” it most cases.
At Twitter and at my personal blog, I declared that this was likely hogwash, since such warnings about a hit on Obama’s standing in the polls had been aired just before or after job reports—good or bad—all year and those reports inevitably failed to move the needle. Yet, seemingly by rote, we heard the same thing almost every month, but never as loudly as a few days ago.
Then the jobs report came out, deemed injurious to Obama in much of the media, with predictions that surely any “bump” in the polls from the DNC would be minor, perhaps not show up at all. The jobs report would take care of that.
Now I made a plea to pundits and partisans alike: Please, send me or post on your own any evidence from the past year that any jobs report had any real and definable impact on public opinion. Again, what I heard was: crickets.
My point, of course, was that while many Americans are, justifiably, very concerned about unemployment, they are, understandably, mainly concerned about their own job, and very few have seen any change in that in recent weeks. In addition, they know that the jobless rate, at least, is not rising—and they recall how truly scary the economy looked when Obama took office. So any jobs report is going to arrive in that context. And, anyway, the GOP has been hitting Obama on 8 percent unemployment for months, so what would a new report finding 8 percent unemployment really matter to most people?
Of course, I’d put myself out on a limb, so I waited anxiously for the daily tracking polls to arrive. And lo and behold, what have they found? A clear, steady, quite significant “bounce” for Obama, taking his lead to an average of 5 percent—the highest since last winter—in all of the major polls that have reported, even GOP-friendly Rasmussen. The same polls, in the main, had found zero “bump” for Romney coming out of the RNC. The first state poll since the DNC also found him surging to a 5 percent lead in Ohio.