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Unemployment Rates in the Swing States and the November Election

With the economy ranking as the one issue for voters I thought it would be interesting to look at the unemployment rate in the swing states, according to the newly released official state numbers for July from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Below are the twelves states most commonly categorized as swing states with their unemployment rate.

STATES Unemployment Rate Obama’s Lead*
NEVADA 12 +5
FLORIDA 8.8 +1
NATIONAL 8.3 +3.9
WISCONSIN 7.3 +3.5
MISSOURI 7.2 -6.3
OHIO 7.2 +1.8
IOWA 5.3 +1

*Obama’s relative lead is based on the Real Clear Politics average for the state.

Looking at the chart there doesn’t seem to be a clear relationship between the unemployment level in the states and how well the incumbent President is doing. President Obama has one of his largest leads in Nevada, the state with the worst unemployment numbers. He also leads by one point in both Florida, with a higher than average rate, and in Iowa, with a very low unemployment rate.

That said, one interesting thing I did is if Obama were only to win the swing states with below average unemployment where he is currently already ahead in the polls he would end up with 272 votes, just over the threshold to win. That is even assuming he loses high unemployment states like Michigan and Nevada despite the fact that Obama currently holds a decent lead in both states.

If Mitt Romney is going to beat Obama with an economic message, he needs it to not only work in high unemployment swing states but also work in at least a few swing states that are doing significantly better than the national average.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at