Reporter's Note: President Obama is working on his re-election campaign, but in today’s letter I suggest what he really has to work on most in a series of numbers.
Dear Mr. President,
I was looking at some numbers earlier today about presidential re-election bids and the unemployment rate. In a nutshell, the equation goes like this: If lots of people are losing their jobs, there is a good chance the president will too. The converse is also true, but that’s not exactly what is on the table right now is it? I don’t think your chief concern is that there will be so many new jobs by election time that voters will turn against you for excessive prosperity. Ha!
What was interesting about the charts I was eyeballing, however, was how relative they were to their times. Voters by and large seemed to respond more to the trend line than they did to the actual numbers.
What I mean by that is, a president could be presiding over what many might consider a pretty decent, non-threatening unemployment rate, but if it starts rising…even if it is still relatively low…they may well pay a price at the polls.
Likewise, a chief executive could be riding herd on some whopping unemployment numbers and if they start falling…even though they are still quite high…he might get enough credit to survive the vote and keep his office.
I mention it, because you obviously have some number crunching to do between now and election time. And it is worth considering: Even if you can’t make the raw unemployment number change all that much, if you can get a positive trend started, even a little one, that could prove awfully important.
In the meantime, give me a call if you have some time. Went for a totally excellent run down by the river this morning. You would have enjoyed it!
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with