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The Unemployment Rate is Overrated

At least when it comes to the panelists on the 'Chris Matthews Show.'

12:20 PM, Sep 6, 2011 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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There's been a lot of talk about how the unemployment rate, currently at 9.1 percent, is putting a damper on President Obama's reelection prospects. On Sunday's edition of The Chris Matthews Show, the eponymous host pointed out that "for FDR running for his second term in the Great Depression, the unemployment rate was 16.6. He won anyway. But the important thing there was the trend, down from 19.8 when he took office. In modern times, the president reelected with the highest unemployment rate was Ronald Reagan in 1984 with a 7.2 percent rate. Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bush 41, all lost their campaigns for a second term weighed down by unemployment." So does this spell doom for Barack Obama?

The Unemployment Rate is Overrated

Apparently not, as Matthews reports: "[W]e asked the Matthews Meter, 12 of our regulars, including Howard [Fineman] here, can Barack Obama buck history and win even if the unemployment rate is, say, up around 8 1/2? Eleven say yes, he can, one says no, he can't."

I'm betting the Matthews Meter also gives the president a decent chance of winning Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and maybe even Texas next year.

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