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Ice This Thing

In any close basketball game, the last few minutes take just about forever.  There are strategic time-outs to regroup and plan, and there are numerous fouls given by the team behind just to get the ball back.  An election is no different, and Hurricane Sandy is the timeout needed by Team Obama to ice the win.

But they had the lead going into it.  The economic reports coming out this week show the score very clearly, and it’s definitely Obama’s game to lose.  As the press starts to bubble how big the lead is and Romney starts to foul out, we can see how this developed very clearly over the long summer – as was noted in Barataria all along.

The real difference between an election and a hoop game is that not many people know how to keep score.

We should start with the excellent news.  Consumer confidence is way up, to 72.2 (50 is neutral) according to the Conference Board who conducts the survey.  Construction spending is up modestly, in line with the developing upturn in home prices.  These are positive trends that suggest holiday spending will be up, among other things, and we should start watching for an uptick in the net velocity of money.

But the biggest news is the ADP jobs report, which came in at a very strong +158k gain in October.  The “official” Department of Labor report is due out today, but it’s not been particularly accurate and is only important for the headlines it generates.  This is the jobs picture, over the entire Obama Administration so far, is by the ADP Reports:

That’s a net gain of nearly 1.4M jobs so far, or more interestingly 4.7M created since the bottom was hit in January 2010 – less than a year after Obama took office.  The chart makes a nice smile, especially for Democrats.

There are many reasons why the election is clearly over – and the desperation shown by Romney makes it obvious that it is.  The most important is the lead in critical states of Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  As noted here before, the story in Ohio has been one of neglect throughout the teeth of this Depression.  Apparently they are doing better than they have in a long time and back the President that got them this far.  The election was over quite a long time ago in these terms, as noted here.

Naturally, we do not know how this will play out down the ticket in the US House.   It’s going to be close, no matter what, but a huge victory at the top may well move things further down.  That’s one important difference between an election and a basketball game.

What matters more than anything is that the economy remains on track for a slow but steady recovery that should continue on into the next game, er, election.  One of the great things about both sports and politics is that there is always next season, and when your team ends with the hardware you get to crow for only a little while before it starts up again.  We don’t know how strong or healthy Democrats will really be going into the next season yet, but we do know that it’s likely to start pretty quickly once serious budget negotiations begin early next year.

Is this really nothing more than a hoop game with a lot of amateurs keeping score?  Obama came through with a very strong lead with just a few seconds left on the clock.  It wasn’t quite the buzzer-beater it was looking to be at the start of the year, but it came very close.  What we have left to determine is the strength of the win and how strong the team will be when it comes time to claim the points from the recovery that is still gaining strength, slowly.

These final seconds are counting down painfully slowly, as they always do.  A zillion polls buzz around citing utterly irrelevant statistics, filling time on the airwaves when there’s apparently nothing better going on down in the game.  It’s always best to ignore them, maybe grab a beer, and start thinking about how strong the team is likely to be going into next season.  None of the blather is going to change the score, and in economic terms Obama has indeed taken the lead he needs to put this thing on ice.

19 thoughts on “Ice This Thing

  1. I didn’t believe you at the start of the summer but it is turning around. Slow but steady and that counts for a lot. That has a lot to do with why Obama is ahead, I agree. Good for the rustbelt to be recovering finally too.

    • That is what matters – it’s getting better, even in places that have been suffering for up to 12 years. What we learned from Sandy applies to all kinds of devastation, even economic. Politics is BS when there is a lot to clean up.

  2. obama or romney it doesnt matter much – but it matters some – neither really cares about working people at the end of the day

    • It matters a lot. If you really want a revolution of a kind, vote for Romney – the internal pressure in the Republican party will certainly make something really bizarre happen and people will take to the streets. That’s my bet. But I’d rather not see that, thank you. I’d rather people took to the streets to force good people who care to do the right thing within the system.

  3. We are in a managed depression. Vote against Obama.

    I am asking for your vote–vote for Governor Mitt Romney.

    • Well, I agree with the first part. 🙂
      Seriously, I think we all expected more than an obvious sports analogy out of this thing. I hope we get some good leadership no matter what happens.
      Anyone in Nebraska? Vote Bob Kerrey!

  4. A lot of people are hurting out there. Romney will provide the leadership. He has done it before and will do it again.

    Vote Romney to get us out of the managed depression.

    Romney and Obama are tied. Most poll results are within the sampling error.

  5. Whether you like it or not, the presidential election is a referendum on Obama. He could be booted out they way Sarkozy was.

    • Well, that is what I based my entire analysis on, so yes. The question was “Has the economy turned around enough to give Obama a passing grade, especially in Ohio?” and the answer is apparently “Yes”. That’s about all there is to it, really.

  6. I sense that Republican enthusiasm for Governory Romney is extremely high all across our democratic republic. We Republicans back Romney solidly.

  7. Independent support for Romney is increasing. This could clinch it for him. The national trend could sweep Romney under the wire. Reagan had a come from behind victory.

  8. Well I agree with you it shouldn’t be this close for the incumbent.

    Let’s just put it this way. An incumbent has advantages and ought to be up by at least 2 percentage points. A positive gap is needed since some of the supporters of the incumbent stay at home and don’t vote, compared to the previous election.

    Obama had a huge victory in % terms in 2008. (53% Obama) Statistics would say he would go back to the mean next time, rather than increasing his share of the electorate. The tie means that Obama has lost his majority coalition. At the congressional level Republicans will retain a majority. That means Obama’s victory depends on split ticket voting (Pres/ US House) and that is not going to occur. Nationwide Republicans hold a majority of US House delegations in 33 states. In Ohio the delegation is 13 R 5 D. Independents in Ohio who voted for Kasich will be for Romney. That will be the key. Independent Kasich voters are not going to vote for Obama. Now there are some Ohio independents who didn’t vote in 2010 for governor. That could give it to Obama

    • It has gotten closer for Obama because people are disappointed. A lot was promised and not much happened but we are OK. Look at the house and senate and everything, the nation is very close everywhere. They have to work together no matter what and that has to happen.

      • I think you are all fair all around. I’m not 100% satisfied with Obama, either, but I want to stay this course (and not go off on a supply-side tangent that just won’t work).

        BUT …

        After this election I have a funny feeling my fellow Liberals will accuse me of going Republican when the debt negotiation comes up. This is some serious stuff.

  9. Pew is reporting an estimate of 50% for Obama, 47% for Romney. I accept that as the best estimate now. Let the record reflect that we love Mitt Romney, he presented the conservative case well and we worked as hard as we could on his behalf.

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