Monday, October 22, 2012

President Obama's Economic Bright Spot: Republicans: Part 5 - Final

    When the September state unemployment figures were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, October 19th, media reports focused on how nine all-important "swing states" fared.  As it turns out, unemployment dropped in seven of the nine, and held steady in the remaining two.  Politico's take was a rather tepid nod at a possible benefit to President Obama from the positive economic signs.  However, applying a metric I have used in the context of the state unemployment numbers several times since April (hereherehere, and here), the September swing state results take on new meaning.

    In this series (of which this is the final installment since the election is just three weeks away), I have analyzed jobs data on the basis of what I call Republican-controlled states versus Democratic-controlled states.  As I have documented, those states I have defined as Republican-controlled have far outpaced Democratic-controlled states in improving their rates of unemployment since 2009.  (I define "control" as the party that holds at least two out of three of the following: the governorship and the two legislative houses.  So, for instance, even though New Jersey has a Republican governor, Chris Christie, both legislative houses are held by Democrat majorities, so New Jersey is considered Democratic-controlled.)

    Based on the figures released by the BLS on Friday, October 19, when the states under control of the respective parties are combined and considered as one, the rates of unemployment are as follows:
Republican-controlled states    7.6%
Democratic-control states        9.0%
    Although this gap has narrowed since August (1.4% vs. 1.5% in August,) the difference is still substantial.  And those nine swing states?  Seven of them are Republican-controlled and only two Democratic-controlled (and one of those two is Nevada which, despite the improvement, still has the highest rate in the nation at 11.8%.  The other is Colorado at 8%.)

    The doomsday scenario for the Obama campaign is that voters in these swing states will credit the local Republicans (all politics is local? is that still true?) rather than the president and his party for whatever gains are being made on the economic front.  If that happens, then the defeat of President Obama will be even more overwhelming than I have been predicting since January.  Landslide, anyone?

No comments:

Post a Comment