In a normal year, Crowley said, the relatively high unemployment rate would play in Romney’s favor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for August was 8.1 percent, and no president in modern history has been reelected with an unemployment rate higher than 7.1 percent.
But Crowley thinks unemployment will be less of a factor than it was in previous years.
Voters have already factored high unemployment and weak jobs growth into their decisions about whom to support, she said.
“The fact is, I don’t think that voters are looking at that anymore.”
Voters may be less concerned about unemployment, but they’re still concerned about the economy, Crowley said. According to a Gallup poll released Monday, 54 percent of voters think the economy is getting worse, which Crowley said could prove to be a stumbling block for Obama.
Obama’s job approval rating hovers around 51 percent, according to this week’s Gallup polls.
That represents a danger zone for a sitting president, she said.
As the incumbent candidate, Obama can’t rely solely on promises for the future, Crowley said.
Voters may place high expectations on candidates they don’t know well, she said. But when the candidate takes office and the realities of governing the country come into play, most candidates don’t match up.
“Hope and change in a campaign is great,” she said. “But after four years, there’s the reality of governance.”