April 20, 2012

The economy, gas prices, perceptions and elections

As I noted in a post a week ago, the second quarter of a president's fourth year in office is key to his (or her, perhaps, some future day) election chances.

Well, we have the early stories from March analysis, ending the first quarter. The New York Times is kind of gloomy about March, and about what this means for months ahead ,but not too much so.

Meanwhile, gas prices, which were supposed to be such a bugaboo a few weeks ago, are starting to fall again. One reason? Obama's not rattling so many sabers against Iran. Another, not mentioned in the story, is that many refineries have finished the annual conversion to producing summer-grade gasoline.

And, with the election ahead, and likely gambling that moderate as well as liberal Jewish voters will be his, Obama probably won't rattle those sabers very hard very often through at least the middle of the summer.

I stand by my guesstimate that the unemployment rate will be no higher than 8.2 percent, may well drift a tick lower to 8.1, and might possibly hit 8.0 percent, by the traditional Labor Day start of the stretch drive. So, don't believe tea party bullshit like this about "a coming conservative landslide." (Indeed, in one specific counterexample, I'll venture that Obama increases his 2008 margin in Virginia.)

But, the real biggie is that the Green Party boosts its national and Texas effort.

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