Thursday, October 9, 2014

What matters most to voters... how they feel about the economy. Of that I am certain. Did I get a raise this year? A bonus? A promotion or a new job? Did my son, father, brother, etc.? Did my neighbor sell his house at a (nominal) profit? Or is it just sitting there on the market? How's my 401k doing? Can I retire some day? Send my kids to college? Take care of my parents in their old age?

Again, it's not ISIS, Ebola or any of that other baloney sausage that really matters in elections. It's how people feel about their economic well-being. I'm convinced that people vote their pocketbooks. Why else do you think Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush were turned out of office after only one term while (St.) Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were reelected? As James Carville famously said, "It's the economy, stupid."

I thought of all that when I read this in Timothy Egan's column in the Times this morning (my emphasis):

What’s the unemployment rate? A poll this month found that 27 percent of people pegged the jobless rate at 9 percent, and nearly one in five said it was closer to 12 percent. The rate is 5.9 percent.

Again, facts don't matter as much as feelings. And the economy feels -- for good reason (declining median wealth and income, for example) -- not so great.

And that's what's troubling Americans. And why the president's ratings are so soft and why the Republicans may retake the senate next month.

P. S. How about that dog in the picture, above? Isn't he cute? Reminds me of Stewart.

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