Will Republican Candidate Be Able to Capitalize on 7.7% Unemployment Rate in 2012?

Voting Pencil - IllustrationAccording to 54 economists that were surveyed by the Wall Street Journal, the US jobless rate will be 7.7% by the time that the 2012 presidential election rolls around.

The national unemployment rate is currently 8.9% (February, 2011).

The economy is usually the top issue in any presidential election, and the 2012 presidential election will be no different. Jobs and deficit spending will be two of the biggest issues confronting President Obama and his Republican opponent in the months leading up to the election in November of 2012.

Assuming that the national unemployment is around 7.7% in November of 2012, the question becomes - will this number help or hurt President Obama's reelection chances?

The national unemployment rate hit a cyclical peak of 10.2% in October of 2009, which means that the unemployment rate will have fallen 2.5% in just over three years by the time that voters hit the polls in November of 2012.

The Wall Street Journal points out that President Reagan was re-elected in 1984 when the national unemployment rate was 7.2%, but they also note that the national unemployment rate had fallen 3.6% from its peak in November and December of 1982.

In 1980, when President Carter went up against Ronald Reagan, the national unemployment rate was 7.5%. The election was a landslide victory for Reagan, as he ended up carrying 44 states.

In 1992, when President Bush went up against Bill Clinton, the national unemployment rate was 7.4%. Clinton won easily, carrying a total of 32 states.


Let's take a quick look at what the national unemployment rate was at for the last number of presidential elections:

November 2008 (Obama vs McCain) - 6.8%
November 2004 (Bush vs Kerry) - 5.4%
November 2000 (Bush vs Gore) - 3.9%
November 1996 (Clinton vs Dole) - 5.4%
November 1992 (Clinton vs Bush) - 7.4%
November 1988 (Bush vs Dukakis) - 5.3%
November 1984 (Reagan vs Mondale) - 7.2%
November 1980 (Reagan vs Carter) - 7.5%

Source: WSJ.com - Jobless Rate at 2012 Presidential Vote Forecast at 7.7%

Source: Historical Unemployment Rates

Filed under: General Knowledge

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