US & Canada

US Election at a glance: 8 Oct 2010

Day in a Nutshell

Republicans jumped on the opportunity to attack President Barack Obama and the Democrats for "job-killing", after new employment figures showed the US economy lost 95,000 jobs in September.

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Media captionKatty Kay: "The unemployment rate is the single biggest number in the campaign"

Even though the figures - the last major US economic report before the mid-term elections - showed private businesses added jobs, the Democrats struggled to contain the fall-out.

"This growth provides more evidence that the economy continues to recover, but we must do more to put the economy on a path of robust economic growth," wrote Austan Goolsbee, the president's top economic advisor, on the White House blog.

But Republican party chief Michael Steele said the figures represented "the final verdict on the failed policies of this White House and Democratic Congress as voters head to the polls".

Quote - Unquote

"Ladies and gentlemen, your government hasn't been listening. Your government is disrespecting you, your family, your job, your children. Your government is out of control," House Republican Leader John Boehner, according to advance excerpts of a speech provided by his office.

"Something tells me we won't get that lucky," Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe, derides former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin when asked if he thought she would run for president in 2012.

Key Numbers

While polls show the Republicans can expect big gains in the November elections - likely taking control of the US House with an outside shot at winning the Senate - a poll shows Americans are sceptical of the party's ability to govern effectively should it win.

According to Gallup, only 32% of Americans think the party "has a clear plan for solving the country's problems", and only 42% believe the party "is able to manage the government effectively".

Unfortunately for the Democrats, their numbers are just as poor.

"Heading into the elections, Americans view both parties about equally unfavourably," Gallup polling analyst Jeffrey Jones writes. "This is yet another indication that potential Republican gains may not indicate a Republican mandate as much as a rejection of the Democrats."

Daily picture

Image caption California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer checks her watch as Commerce Secretary Gary Locke speaks at a campaign event