Swing State Unemployment Rates May Help Obama

Monday, 23 Jul 2012 11:22 AM

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President Barack Obama’s re-election chances may be helped by the improving economic picture in key swing states despite the poor economy nationwide. In seven of the dozen or so states where the election will likely be decided the unemployment rate has dipped below the national average of 8.2 percent, The Washington Post reported.

Those states are Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The June unemployment rates for Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia have dropped below 6 percent. Even in Florida, Michigan, Nevada, and North Carolina, where the unemployment rate is above the national average, the rate is on a downward trend.

“But the state-by-state unemployment numbers are a reminder that the 2012 election — like all presidential contests — is a national election in name only,” the Post’s political blog The Fix wrote. “That is, although the U.S. unemployment rate matters as a broad thematic, the rates in the eight to 12 swing states may well be more telling indicators of whether Obama can sell voters on his plans for the economy. That handful of states is where the election will be decided; the unemployment rates in places such as California (10.7 percent in June) and North Dakota (2.9 percent) are, essentially, meaningless.”

Nonetheless, the Post noted that since the Great Depression the highest national unemployment rate when a president won re-election was 7.2 when Ronald Reagan won in 1984. Six of the swing states currently have rates about 7.2 percent.

“Make no mistake: The weak national economy has badly imperiled Obama’s chances of winning a second term in November,” The Fix concluded. “But the economic story in the swing states is slightly better for the incumbent, giving him and his team a glimmer of hope as they work to win in the fall.”

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