The fundamental political issue in this state for state & federal elections will be jobs. Yes lots of other things will matter, but jobs is going to be the primary issue for most voters.
Update from Newsweek:
John Sides, of George Washington University, helped me run the numbers more directly: we made one graph comparing the share of the vote the incumbent party got and the change in the deficit that it had presided over. It looked like we’d spilled out a bag of dots onto a piece of paper. The next graph we made plotted vote share against change in real disposable income. The line fit perfectly – more perfectly, in fact, than I’d anticipated.
And now from The Brookings Institution we have awful news:
June’s employment numbers highlight that our economic recovery is not yet on solid footing. An analysis by The Hamilton Project digs into the regional distribution of these unemployment trends and finds that, by one measure, the five hardest hit states are Alabama, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia, and Utah.
The critical issue for people is closing the job gap, returning us to full employment. Where do we sit on that?
How long will it take to erase this gap? If future job growth continues at a rate of roughly 208,000 jobs per month, the average monthly job creation for the best year for job creation in the 2000s, it would take 136 months (more than 11 years).
I think this is going to be really rough for incumbents. At the state level they can deflect it some saying only the federal government can address this. But at the state level there are numerous things the state can do to encourage job growth and challengers who run on making those changes will do well.
On the federal level this is going to be deadly for incumbents – of both parties. Because there is no real effort in Washington to reduce the unemployment level. Congress definitely comes across as accepting 17% true unemployment/underemployment as the new normal. And that is not going to play well with the voters.
We can all explain in detail why Democrats (or Republicans) will best address this and the other party won’t. But the voters in the middle understand a key fundamental, expecting the same people to do something different is a form of insanity. And so they’ll be more likely to vote in the challenger.
And those newly elected members better put both eyes on the rear view mirror, because the same thing will happen in 2 years if we’re still stuck with horrible unemployment rates and no real effort to address it from the government.
It’s going to suck to be an incumbent for some time…