There is an old political hack's rule of thumb that voters take into the polling booth their sense of the direction of the economy in mid- to late-summer. I've never seen any actual polling on this, but let's take it as read for now.
If the U.S. economy - indeed the world economy - continues to weaken over the next six to eight weeks, it will spell a very difficult re-election for Obama, no matter how the economy is actually doing in the run up to election day.
In the infamous "It's the Economy, Stupid" election of 1992, the economy had begun to recover by election day but too late to aid George H.W. Bush in his campaign against Bill Clinton.
Ross Perot was in that race and the economic message played into his hands as well as he ran largely on a platform of keeping jobs from going to Mexico (that "giant whooshing sound") and reducing the deficit.
According to the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Obama's lead over Romney has shrunk to 1.6 percent, but the impact of Friday's numbers are not fully represented so all eyes will be on the tracking polls as we move through the week.
As I finish typing this at 5:40 AM in France, CNBC.com has changed its headline to:
Tokyo Hits 28-Year Low Amid Global Rout
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Wall Street Journal's analysis of Friday's jobs report and the Wikipedia entry for the 1992 Presidential election.
Also an amusing Mullfoto taken along the train ride from Paris and a Catchy Caption of the Day.