WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising unemployment hurts an incumbent president's re-election prospects. Here's a look at the role unemployment trends have played in elections since 1980 when sitting presidents sought to stay in the White House.
|Election Year||Unemployment rate in November||Background||Result|
|1980||7.5 percent||Unemployment rose sharply — from 5.9 percent — in the year leading up to the election, diminishing President Jimmy Carter's hopes for re-election.||Carter unseated by challenger Ronald Reagan, 51-41 percent.|
|1984||7.2 percent||Unemployment was still high — but had come down dramatically after peaking at 10.8 percent in December 1982.||Reagan beat challenger Walter Mondale in a landslide, 59-41 percent.|
|1992||7.4 percent||President George H.W. Bush looked invincible after a U.S.-led coalition drove Iraq out of Kuwait in early 1991. But rising unemployment changed everything by Election Day 1992.||Bush ousted by Bill Clinton, 43-37 percent.|
|1996||5.4 percent||A powerful economic expansion boosted Clinton's re-election prospects.||Clinton fended off challenger Bob Dole, 49-41 percent.|
|2004||5.4 percent||A strengthening economic recovery helped President George W. Bush||Bush won re-election over challenger John Kerry, 51-48 percent.|
|2012||7.8 percent (October 2012)||A lackluster economic recovery made President Barack Obama vulnerable; but a big drop in October unemployment lifted his prospects.||???|