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Gallup: Unemployment Rises to 10.1% on Eve of Election

According to Gallup, the number of unemployed Americans has ticked up noticeably from 9.4% in mid-September to 10.1%. Given that “Jobs and the Economy” is by far the dominant issue for voters right now, this is not good news for the incumbent party. . . and that would be the Democrats.

Historical analysis has shown the state of the economy and income growth right before an election has a substantial effect on which party wins, especially noteworthy in an election where the economy is the top concern of the electorate:

“In presidential elections,” Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels says, “a 1 percent boost in election-year income growth has typically increased the incumbent party’s vote share by about 2 percent. So an incumbent party that won 51 percent of the vote in an average economic year like 2004 would be expected to win only 46 percent in a recession year like 2008.” Which is, as you may remember, pretty much exactly what happened.

A multi-year economic slump that is not only not improving but might actually, by some measures, be getting worse as voters prepare to head to the polls can only hurt Democrats seeking re-election. Democrats have been in complete control of Washington, and they will likely be viewed as having completely failed at improving the job situation.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is now living in the Washington DC area. He created a politics and policy blog, The Walker Report (http://jwalkerreport.blogspot.com/).

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