The presidential contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will probably come down to one thing: the unemployment rate and where it’s headed.
If that’s the case, and many pundits/experts have said it is, the incumbent Obama has the advantage according to a new survey by The Associated Press.
Paul Wiseman reports on an AP survey of 32 leading economists, “who think the recovery will manage to reduce unemployment to 7.9 percent by Election Day from 8.2 percent in March.”
Historically, that would boost President Obama’s prospects as “no president has lost re-election when the unemployment rate dropped in the two years before the election.”
Unemployment was 9.8 in November 2010. If the surveyed economists prove correct, the rate will be 1.8 percentage points lower when Americans vote on Election Day, November 6, 2012.
(Note: technically, we won’t get the November 2012 unemployment rate before Election Day. The last report before the election will be issued on Friday, Nov. 2, for the month of October 2012. Even so, October 2010’s unemployment rate was 9.5%, a number that these economists surveyed by AP expect be significantly higher than in October 2012).
We get a better idea after April’s unemployment report is released tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. EDT.