When President Obama makes his pitch to voters next year on why they should elect him to a second term, he’ll likely point to some version of this chart.
What the following chart shows is that Obama inherited a bum economy but that, under his watch, things have begun to turn around. In the past year, the unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point amid improving job growth. Assuming those trends continue, Obama will be able to say that, yes, the economy needs to be much stronger, but that it’s currently heading in the right direction.
That exact pitch helped Reagan win his 1984 reelection bid when he destroyed Walter Mondale —Mondale carried only his home state of Minnesota and Washington D.C. — despite an unemployment rate of 7.4% on election day. One year earlier, unemployment stood at 8.8%, higher than it is today, but it then steadily ticked down over the following months.
Photo: Jon Terbush / Business Insider
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