Conspiracy theories on the numbers aside, the bad news for Obama is that the 7.8 percent unemployment rate in September is easily the highest of any president who has won reelection since 1980. In fact, the number is higher than the unemployment rate at the same point during the reelection years of Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush.
The possible upshot for the president? The unemployment rate is lower now than it was in January of this year—neither Carter nor George H.W. Bush could have said the same at this point in their reelection years.