In 2004, George W. Bush was re-elected in spite of the fact that unemployment was up 30% from when he'd been elected.
Yesterday, voters' unhappiness with Obama and worry that the country was headed in the wrong direction led to a huge victory for Republicans. This in spite of the fact that unemployment is down about 38% in the last four years.
Voters say that they're unhappy with the direction of the country but it might actually be that they're unhappy with its location. When W. was re-elected, unemployment was up but it was still only 5.4%. (It took him another 4 years to nearly double that.) When Obama "lost" the mid-term election, unemployment was still at 5.9%. The location - just under 6% rather than close to 5% - seems to be more upsetting than the direction - dropping rather than rising.
It would be a beautiful thing if only the Republicans' policies were as effective as their politics. The default for this country is the GOP. Look at what it takes for Republicans to lose the White House. Watergate. The Great Recession. A once-in-a-lifetime politician like Bill Clinton. Barring disastrous performance by a Republican president or a phenomenal performance by a Democratic candidate, Republicans win. For whatever reason, the country trusts them. And oddly, it's the same country that is gradually legalizing same-sex marriage and marijuana. Perhaps the Republican ads should end with an American shaking their head at some silly thing their Republican candidate has said before putting their arm around him and saying, "I don't really like your policies, Jim, but there's just something about you."