It’s both the most often repeated and ridiculously misleading statistic of campaign 2012: that no president since FDR has ever been reelected with unemployment over 7.2 percent. True, but no one bothers to explain that until Ronald Reagan won by an 18-point margin, capturing 49 states, despite being “weighed down” by that unemployment figure, no president had been reelected with unemployment over 5.3 percent. There is just no relationship between unemployment levels and electoral outcomes.
That’s just one example of the kind of feckless analysis that led many to misunderstand the contours of this election, which was won by a combination of mostly favorable fundamentals and brilliantly executed strategy. [cont.]