Lots of recent commentary has been wondering how Obama could be doing so well given the recent lackluster performance of the economy. Even knowing what we did then, this genre of commentary was getting it wrong, as the fundamentals did in fact predict an Obama win. But now we know that the fundamentals have actually been even better. Naturally this won’t stop people from writing more columns expressing surprise that Obama is polling so well, but it should.
But new evidence suggests it may have been the former possibility. We don’t just have a decent jobs report today. The BLS also revised the numbers for July and August pretty dramatically. August was revised up from 96,000 to 142,000 and July was revised up to 181,000. Those aren’t roaring recovery numbers but they paint a very different picture than the original numbers. This comes on the heels of a report a week ago that the BLS upward revised the jobs numbers from the first half of the year by 386,000 jobs.
Together, again, that paints a significantly different picture of where the economy has been for the last year. Politically, we’ve been operating on the assumption that the economy got into gear last winter and then slumped back into anemic jobs growth in the spring. But it seems like on the ground that may not actually have happened. So if we wonder why Obama’s numbers have resisted the anemic jobs reality, it seems like we may have had an incorrect picture of what that reality was.