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Friday, May 14, 2004

Job Losses & Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

DHinMI at Kos takes a look at how job losses over the last 3-plus years have been spread across the electoral map. Some of his findings:

�Ģ Only four swing states have experienced a net gain in jobs since Bush took office: AZ, FL, NV, NM.

�Ģ But in none of those states has job growth outstripped population growth. Says DH, "Thus, despite more jobs in some places, in 49 of 50 states there are more job seekers today, in both raw numbers and as a percentage of the state's population, than there were 3 years ago." (The only exception is Alaska.)

�Ģ The Census Bureau refers to metro regions as "Metropolitan Statistical Areas," or MSAs. DH again: "Of the 100 largest MSA's, 43 have gained jobs; 27 of those 43 MSA's are in swing states. But those gains are concentrated in a handful of states; 11 of those MSA's are entirely in Florida, and another 5 encompass most of Tennessee.

"For example, all major MSA's in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri have lost jobs, as have the majority in Pennsylvania and Iowa. Other states with major metro areas that have lost jobs encompass heavily populated areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin."

I don't like bad economic news - but as DH concludes, at least this bad news might lead to some good news: "The job situation in the U.S. is full of grim statistics. Finally, however, there is a silver lining ��� the job losses of the last three years are likely to cost the current occupant of the White his own job."

Posted at 01:52 PM in Economy | Technorati


Bad news now is indeed good news for our side, especially as it's hard to say what headlines Kerry could be making on his own initiative. But, as you say, problems for Bush don't translate into points for Kerry as nicely as the 'enemy of my enemy' heuristic would suggest. For example, Jane Campbell narrowly won the Cleveland mayoral election at a time the city was deeply hurting. Raymond Pierce (a veritable unknown who told me he decided to run after working in DC and realizing that "these people aren't any smarter than I am") gave her a real run for her money because he came on the troubled scene with a strong agenda for solving it. If Kerry wants to get elected, he'll have to be crystal-clear about what he thinks might solve the problem, or even what he's thinking of trying (I support the FDR tinker-style of presidency) -- or else people might decide that the devil they know is better than the one they don't. Campbell did win, after all.

PS -- for those interested in Cleveland's mayoral races, I've put in the "URL" field a little blurb from the Cleveland Free Times.

Posted by: shimamoto at May 15, 2004 03:36 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm not sure I agree. Was Campbell the incumbent? I ask because I think that presidential elections which feature an incumbent simply become a referendum on the incumbent - ie, that voters will keep or boot an incumbent almost regardless of who the other side puts up.

I think the Republicans, for instance, could never have won in `96, even if they had found someone far better than Dole. And I doubt that the Democrats could have won in `84 even if they had put Jesus on the ticket.

I see this election (for many people, anyway) as being a choice between Bush and not-Bush. What Kerry needs to avoid is for "not-Bush" to be perceived as a worse choice than Bush. I certainly would like to see him articulate a positive vision - but I think it still mostly comes down to people's feelings about Dubya.

And, as the latest Pew poll showed, only 44% of the country still likes him. Excellent.

Posted by: DavidNYC at May 15, 2004 12:47 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment