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Opinion
Jonathan Bernstein

Sunny Jobs Report Won't Save Democrats

For Barack Obama and the Democrats, there’s more downside risk than upside opportunity between now and the November elections.
The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in June. That won't mean much to voters.
The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in June. That won't mean much to voters.

Democrats should be happy about the excellent jobs report released today showing that the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in June. They shouldn’t, however, expect it to have any major effect on the 2014 elections.

Here’s how it works: The president’s popularity probably has a direct effect on midterms. As it stands now, it would be a minor drag on Democrats; HuffPollster has President Barack Obama at just under 44 percent approval and holding steady. The more sensitive “less smoothing” estimate is at 42.4 percent, and has been falling since the beginning of May. That’s a bit better than where President George W. Bush stood in 2006, but isn't remotely close to the strong approval President Bill Clinton had in 1998, when Democrats did well in a second-term midterm.