It is possible that on Friday, President Obama officially ran out of time for a sunny pre-November burst of economic growth, better news on unemployment, and heightened confidence among voters who insist the economy is their chief worry.
Political scientists and pollsters believe the spring and early summer of election years often signal how voters are leaning in their presidential preferences. If true in 2012, Friday’s gloomy employment news portends trouble for Obama and a wider opening for Mitt Romney, who assailed the president anew for making the economy worse.
Obama appears to be at the mercy of snowballing events he can’t control, while assaulted by Republicans for the economic interventions he has controlled. Without observable economic progress before November, Obama’s openings to persuade voters will dry up, and some analysts have already suggested that disappointed voters are tuning him out.
If there was any bipartisan agreement Friday, it was that the word “terrible” described the May jobs report.