Election 2012 campaigns enter final weekend

November 2, 2012 (CHICAGO)

It is the last jobs report before Election Day.

The board of elections has been a popular spot for early voting and Saturday is the last day to vote early.

The jobs report results could have major implications on the presidential election. A weak jobs report would provide ammunition for Mitt Romney, who has charged that President Barack Obama's policies have held back the economic recovery. On the other hand, the president might benefit from recent declines in unemployment.

The 7.8-percent rate in September was the lowest since the president took office. The rate ticked up slightly to 7.9 percent in October, with 171,000 jobs added to the economy.

With just four days left until the election, both candidates are concentrating almost entirely on the crucial swing states. Fresh from his visit to Virginia Beach, Mitt Romney heads to Wisconsin Friday. A Romney fundraiser is scheduled in Chicago Friday night, but it's unclear whether he will attend.

President Obama arrived in Columbus, Ohio, where he starts a campaign trip to three cities in Ohio Friday. The president is set to return home to Chicago Monday night and will be here for an Election Day rally at McCormick Place.

As early voters lined up and looped around the corners inside 69 West Washington, some voters say they will take today's job report and new unemployment rate into consideration.

"We've had a lot of progress in the last four years, and I think that's really what I'm looking at," said L.V. Johnson.

"I know for a lot of people, jobs are a huge issue. it definitely will make a big difference," said Dana Perminas.

So how will the presidential candidates spin the numbers?

"It is about the substance. The number went up, not down. The overall jobs number went up, not down, and that is not good for the president. it is all about perception, and the president has to turn that around and show that he has a broader plan," said Laura Washington. "I think most of them have already made up their minds. I do not think it will make that much difference."

Meantime, early voting records in the city and suburbs of Cook County are expected to break records in 2008.

"It depends what happens these last two days, but most likely, between voting early this way and voting by mail, there will be more people that vote before Election Day than ever before," said Cook County Clerk David Orr.

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