It’s The Economy

While President Obama will make a prime time speech from the White House tomorrow on Iraq, the focus by the end of the week will have turned decidedly to the economy and its election impact.

Today, the President will make remarks on the economy after a White House meeting with top economic advisers.

Pretty much everything that is said this week will be part of the run up to Friday, when we  get another report from the Labor Department on the nation’s unemployment rate.

That figure has been stuck at 9.5% for the past two months, but a number of indicators in recent weeks have made politicians wonder whether it is going to creep up.

This week’s report, and one on October 1st, are the only two jobless reports left before Election Day.

While the White House obviously wants to mark the end of “combat operations” in Iraq, I know from my listener email that the Iraq War is nowhere to be found on the list of top issues for voters this year.

But the economy most certainly is at the head of that list.

Last week the feds downgraded the growth rate of the U.S. economy to 1.6% in the second quarter of this year, which is a fairly anemic number, raising more concerns about a possible ‘double dip’ recession.

Democrats obviously had been hoping for a jobless rate under 9% by now.  This is the longest period of an unemployment rate over 9% since the recession of 1982-83.

The 1982 mid term elections were pretty much all about the economy, coming two years after the huge victory of Ronald Reagan over President Carter in 1980.

So what happened in 1982?  Democrats added 27 seats in the House of Representatives, but there was no change at all in the Senate, as the Republicans kept a 54 seat majority.

As of now, many Republicans plan on winning much more than 27 seats in the House in the 2010 mid-terms.  They would need to pickup 11 seats to take over control of the Senate, something that is possible, but viewed as a longshot.

While there has been a lot of talk about mosques, immigration laws and more, look for economic issues to dominate in the coming weeks.

Nine weeks and one day of campaigning left until Election Day 2010.


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