The American economy is hardly the picture of health, but more signs of recovery are emerging in time for the closing months of the White House race, the Washington Post finds. New home construction and housing prices have jumped, hiring is up, and the number of people seeking unemployment insurance is continuing to drop—as is America's trade deficit. But even if the recovery gains traction, it may be too late to give a boost to President Obama. Political scientists say most voters have already made up their mind, and polls show that a majority of voters see Mitt Romney as better able to handle the economy.
Romney's campaign isn't buying any talk of recovery. "We have had a record-high level of unemployment with rates above 8% for 42 straight months, ticking up to 8.3% just last week," a spokeswoman says, calling Obama "unqualified to lead us to an economic recovery." No postwar president has won re-election with unemployment this high, or with growth as low as the 1.5% recorded last quarter. "The long and the short of this is that President Obama’s economic record is not one that voters have found to be acceptable in past presidencies," says a political scientist at the University of Buffalo. (Read more US economy stories.)