Political Animal


October 17, 2012 12:53 PM “Gallup Truthers” On the Way?

By Ed Kilgore

In a rude interruption of the spin battles over the second presidential candidates’ debate, the Gallup organization published its latest estimates of trends in unemployment, and they reinforce the BLS September Jobs Report indication that the unemployment rate is finally and significantly dropping:

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 7.3% in mid-October, down considerably from 7.9% at the end of September and at a new low since Gallup began collecting employment data in January 2010. Gallup’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.7%, also down from September. October’s adjusted mid-month measure is also more than a percentage point lower than October 2011.

Gallup also reported a less favorable number: the percentage of Americans working part-time who want to work full-time is up slightly from September. But at the same time, its measurement of the “underemployment rate” is actually at the lowest rate since Gallup started collecting this data in 2010.

It’s unclear whether these numbers will get more attention than they normally do, since they reinforce what could be an important if modest trend, or will simply be filed away as a leading indicator for what the official BLS October Jobs Report may show when it’s released on November 2, just four days before the election cycle ends.

If they do get a lot of attention, it will be interesting to see how far conservatives go to undermine their credibility. It’s one thing to claim (with zero evidence, of course) that as a government agency BLS is subject to political manipulation. But Gallup? The same outfit whose recent tracking numbers in the presidential race have been applauded so avidly by Republicans? I don’t think so.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Theophylact on October 17, 2012 1:20 PM:

    You don't think so? Republicans can believe seven impossible things before breakfast.

  • potomacupstream on October 17, 2012 1:23 PM:

    eiRecent consumer confidence numbers have also been stronger, and so there's a case to make that the headline jobs trends map to how people are actually feeling about their situations. There's a risk to the campaign making too much of this - there's always the prospect for a negative jobs surprise on 11/2 - but there's also a risk to letting a potentially strong argument lie fallow. "Our efforts are working, here's proof" takes quite a bit of bite out of the sky-is-falling Republican worldview. If the truthers get even more purple in the face (as sure as the sun rises in the east) it will be evidence of the message working.

  • jjm on October 17, 2012 1:34 PM:

    Where does he get his '23 million Americans out of work' from? I understand that by this number he isn't counting simply those who are unemployed, but those who are 'underemployed' -- though the definition of that is hard to pin down. Does he count retirees? I just don't get where it comes from.

  • Tanya Harris on October 17, 2012 1:37 PM:

    With Romney surging up even further today in Gallup, up six points at 51-46 and even tied in Wisconsin, the Repubicans will likely accept its finding. But most likely, the employment figures are a direct consequence of Romney's popularity. There's a great deal of optimism about the prospect of a successful businessman as president, so companies are beginning to rehire in anticipation of Romney's inauguration and the repeal of job-killing Ovamacare.

  • pattyp on October 17, 2012 1:57 PM:

    Ovamacare vill suck your blooood!

  • Doug on October 17, 2012 6:01 PM:

    Tanya, IF you really believe what you posted, I can only assume you have absolutely no idea of what you're parroting.
    Employment does NOT "go up" on the chance someone might win a political office and or the "popularity" of that candidate. Employment DOES go up when there's an increased demand for a product or services, above and beyond what can provided by current employees.
    Even more laughable is the idea that if Romney is a successful "businessman", then he will somehow magically improve the economy. NONE of Romney's economic plans add up; not his tax plan, his "energy independence" plan nor his plans for repealing Obamacare.
    Based on the very little Romney has provided to us peons, the reductions in tax rates, plus the additional monies thrown at the DoD, will cost much, much more than can be "saved" by closing loopholes. His energy plan fails to take into consideration the fact that we currently are producing more oil than previously, coal is an extremely dirty producer of energy (unless one can move around to one's various homes) and very high in producing carbon dioxide. The Keystone boondoggle is nothing more than an attempt to ram an un-needed pipeline from Canada to a tax-free export zone in Texas where, odds are, all of the processed oil will be sold overseas. Or as all "businessmen" SHOULD know - to the highest bidder.
    Even SHOULD Romney win the Presidency, there is nothing to say Republicans will win control of the Senate and retain control of the House, BOTH necessary to repeal Obamacare. Should Democrats retain the Senate there is NO chance Obamacare will be repealed - and all intelligent "businessmen" know that.
    Should Mr. Obama lose the election and Democrats retain the Senate and gain control of the House, not likely but certainly NOT impossible, You will see Mr. Romney execute yet another of his well-known and well-ridiculed, patented flip-flops as the "severely conservative" person who has conned you on THAT will try to con a new bunch of voters on his "bipartisanship".
    Should Romney win and Republicans gain complete control of Congress all I can say is - you will deserve every bad thing that happens to you and yours when two more, un-necessary, wars are entered into and the economy completely collapses after being turned over to the rapacious actions of "businessmen" such as Romney.
    The rest of the country won't...

  • Tanya Harris on October 18, 2012 9:21 AM:


    As a seasoned businessman like Gov. Romney could tell you, you're confusing the elementary concepts of employment and sales. Sales rise when people purchase goods and services; employment rises when businesses hire people. It's as simple as that.

    Businesses also anticipate future sales based on expected future events. It's called "planning ahead." For example, a store will increase its inventory in anticipation of increased sales at Christmas. So, too, a business will increase its workforce in anticipation of increased production due to its anticipation that a competent, economically literate man like Mitt Romney will be elected.

    Simply put: businesses are hiring now because Romney's election is a certain as the coming of Christmas.

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