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July 26: The Calm Before Critical Economic News

Thursday was a rare day of decent economic news for President Obama. The Department of Labor showed initial unemployment claims declining, and the stock market was up more than 200 points as investors bought into assurances by the chief of the European Central Bank that he would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro zone.

A series of critical economic reports is set to be released in the next week, including the government’s initial estimate of second-quarter G.D.P. growth on Friday, and the monthly jobs report a week from Friday.

In addition, the Federal Reserve will hold a meeting next week, during which it could plausibly choose to enact a third round of quantitative easing.

The polling news was mixed for the candidates. A survey in Missouri showed Mitt Romney well ahead there, and another in New Jersey showed a smaller lead for Mr. Obama than others in the state. But Mr. Obama got a stronger number in a Nevada poll, a more critical state in the Electoral College, which put him ahead by five points there.

Mr. Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College rose in our model, to 66.4 percent from 65.0 percent, mostly because the stock market gain slightly bolstered the model’s economic index.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.