This Chart Shows The Only Job Numbers That Matter For The 2012 Election

The conventional campaign wisdom this month has been that May’s dismal job numbers — and an overall public sentiment that the economic recovery is weakening — has tightened the 2012 presidential race, opening up an opportunity for Mitt Romney to beat President Barack Obama this fall. 

While the grim data is definitely bad news for Obama, this chart, from senior Moody’s economist Xu Cheng, shows why Obama might not be in such dire straits after all:

swing state chart

Photo: Moody’s Analytics

We have pointed out before that just a handful of states will determine the 2012 race. As this chart shows, Obama is actually in pretty good shape in most of these battlegrounds, where unemployment is below the 8.2% national average. 

Cheng explains the numbers

“Moreover, most key swing states have outperformed the national average, with unemployment rates below 8%. That could lessen the chance that voters in these states will discount recent improvements and express their anger at the long downturn with a vote against the incumbent. This so-called “grumpy voter” effect boosts the GOP’s chances in states such as Florida and North Carolina.”

Now here are the five states that could decide the presidential election > 

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