Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

October 26, 2012 11:53 AM

Unemployment / Right Direction-Wrong Track

The BLS unemployment rate for September was 7.8%. This is the same as it was in January 2009, when Barack Obama took office. The Gallup survey of the unemployed generally tracks pretty well with the BLS numbers. Its mid-October unemployment rate is 7.3%

  BLS* Gallup Gallup **
Mid- October -- 7.3% 16.3%
September 7.8% 7.9% 16.5%
August 8.1% 8.1% 16.6%
July 8.3% 8.2% 17.1%
June 8.2% 8.0% 17.3%
January 8.3% 8.6% 18.7%
Average 2011 9.0% 8.9% 18.7%
Average 2010 9.6% 9.8% 18.8%
Average 2009 9.3%    

*Seasonally adjusted rate/Bureau of Labor Statistics

**Gallup combines an unadjusted unemployed rate with those who are working part-time but want full-time employment.

Right Direction/Wrong Track

Over the last three months the percentage of Americans who say the country is going in the right direction has jumped from 30% to 41%. And the number saying the country is on the wrong track has dropped from 64% to 53%.

Date   Right Direction Wrong Track
10/20 NBC/WSJ 41 53
9/30 NBC/WSJ 40 53
9/29 ABC/WP 38 60
9/27 Pol/GW/BG 38 56
9/16 NBC/WSJ 39 55
9/12 CBS/NYT 38 57

As the size of the early vote grows from election to election, those who are responsible for crafting the exit polls are increasingly challenged. They are faced with having to bake in the results of this early vote as they gather election day information at polling places around the country.

In 2008, the early exit polls did not correctly predict the direction of the election, and in 2012 those early numbers are likely to be as off as they were four years ago. Actually, the later iterations of the polls were off as well.

So, of course, tap all of your sources looking for early data, but don’t start the celebration too early. Perish the thought we should have to wait until all the votes are actually counted.

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