All of the debate hype notwithstanding, the jobs report that is coming out Friday, whether the unemployment rate is up or down, will likely be greeted with a chorus of GOP Chicken Littles, hysterically warning the nation that the economic sky is falling, and it’s all Obama’s fault. Here’s Ed Kilgore’s take at the Washington Monthly:
Friday’s jobs report, of course, is the Big Bertha. There will be one more the Friday before Election Day, but at that point the undecided vote will probably be down to a segment of the electorate that is far more likely to be focused on Honey Boo Boo than economic reports.
…Given the dynamics of the general election campaign, you can expect the warm jets of conservative spin over the September jobs report to achieve a level of heat and noise unlike anything that has ever been generated by a BLS publication. If the net new jobs numbers do not meet expectations (which will be set mid-week), we’ll hear renewed howling about double-dip recession and Obama’s Failed Presidency. If the jobs numbers are better than expected, the Right will focus on the unemployment rate.
…For Republicans, this will probably be the last clear opportunity for a news link to the Referendum on Obama’s Stewardship of the Economy meme. You can try to take a break from the news that day to avoid it all, but I suspect the intensity of the Doom and Gloom will be such that you will probably pick up the bad news on your dental fillings.
At HuffPo, Robert Reich adds,
Rarely in the history has the monthly employment carried so much political significance. If the payroll survey is significantly more than 96,000 — the number of new jobs created in August — President Obama can credibly claim the job situation is improving. If significantly fewer than 96,000, Mitt Romney has the more credible claim that the economy isn’t improving.
But Cenk Uygur thinks there is nothing much to worry about, explaining,
Here’s my new favorite fact: whoever is leading two weeks after the last convention has never relinquished the lead in the last 15 presidential elections. It’s way past two weeks since the last convention and President Obama doesn’t have a small lead, he has a huge lead…This doesn’t mean that the election won’t tighten sometime between now and Election Day. And, of course, the media will make a huge deal out of it because this is our bread and butter…But if you look at the numbers objectively, for all intents and purposes, this thing is already in the books. It’s over. President Obama will get re-elected.
A downtick in the unemployment rate could seal the deal for the President’s re-election, especially if it falls two tenths of a percent to 7.9 or better. A small uptick might not mean so much in the context of Romney’s disastrous September.
But Kilgore is right regardless. it’s going to get loud, very loud on Friday, no matter who wins the debates.