The New York Times writes,
“No American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent.
“Seventeen months before the next election, it is increasingly clear that President Obama must defy that trend to keep his job.”
Roosevelt, of course, served during the Great Depression, and unemployment actually dropped by about 7 points (from nearly 24 percent to nearly 17 percent) between his election in 1932 and his reelection in 1936. (It dropped again before he was elected a third time, in 1940, and again before he was elected a fourth time, in 1944.) Meanwhile, unemployment has risen by more than 2 points under President Obama, from 6.8 percent in November 2008 to 9.1 percent in May.