Here we are in week four of our Campaign Calculus series, which juxtaposes snapshots of the presidential campaign with Nate Silver’s daily prediction numbers from his FiveThirtyEight blog. Last week saw a slight momentum shift in the election.
Following a lackluster debate performance, President Obama (and the country) received the good news that the unemployment percentage had fallen below eight percent. There were some, however, including former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who questioned the validity of these numbers.
Despite these good job numbers, various polls showed Mitt Romney gaining ground on the president. “Romney’s performance in the debate I think has improved his share of the vote for now ” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark, referring to a Reuters/Ipsos poll which brought Romney within two points of the President over the weekend.
The week was capped off by the vice presidential debate, in which Vice President Joe Biden came out swinging on various issues such as Medicare, taxes, and Romney’s infamous comments decrying 47 percent of Americans as lacking personal responsibility. These were all issues that the President failed to address in the first debate.
One notable exchange featured Biden criticizing his opponent, Rep. Paul Ryan, for denying that the Recovery Act has helped small business.
“I’m not allowed to show letters here, but go on our website,” Biden said, “[Ryan] sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?”
“On two occasions we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants,” Ryan replied.
On Tuesday, Obama and Romney will face off in the second presidential debate.