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Obama faces another hurdle: Friday's jobless report


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analysis-obama-faces-another-hurdle-fridays-jobless-report-201857894--business.htmlYahoo News:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has survived months of lackluster reports on the nation's unemployment with little effect on his approval ratings or his poll lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney, but that could change on Friday.

After a subpar performance Wednesday night against a sharp Romney in their first presidential debate, Obama suddenly seems vulnerable to any bad news. That makes the Labor Department's jobs report for September, which will be released Friday morning, a potential hurdle for Obama in the presidential race.

Polls have indicated that the weak U.S. economy and the high jobless rate - 8.1 percent in August - are voters' top consideration in deciding who they will vote for on November 6.

The monthly unemployment report has been watched closely throughout the campaign, but never more so than on Friday and on November 2, when the October report will be released.

The September figures are to be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters expect the unemployment rate to be 8.0 to 8.3 percent, with non-farm payrolls adding 113,000 new jobs, up from 96,000 in August.

Republicans have been frustrated that a series of mediocre jobs reports appear to have had little effect on Obama's campaign.

In some months, Obama has used his presidential powers to make other news that distracted from the monthly report, such as when he announced he supported gay marriage in May. At other times, campaign missteps by Romney have grabbed the spotlight.

This week, however, a bad jobs report could resonate against the president.

During Wednesday's debate, Romney hammered Obama for his handling of the economy, and reminded voters of his own record as a successful businessman.

"The dynamics have changed after last night," Potomac Strategies Group political analyst Greg Valliere wrote in a research note to clients on Thursday. "Obama is in trouble and may get another dose of bad news when the September jobs report is released tomorrow."

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After the first round with Romney, reality bites back twice as hard.

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