Unemployment in March was 20 percent higher in so-called “blue states” won by Democratic candidate Barack Obama in last fall’s presidential election than in “red states” won by Republican candidate John McCain, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If unemployment numbers in the blue states do not begin improving soon, the Democratic Party may start expressing concerns about 2010 mid-term election losses in both governor races and in Congress, many political observers say.
The baseball statistician and political predictor at FiveThirtyEight.com already has forecast that Obama will need to sustain a 65-percent approval rating to avoid losing the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections in which voters traditionally weigh economic issues particularly strong.
WND has already reported that Obama’s 63 percent approval rating at the end of his first 100 days was about the same as registered by President Jimmy Carter in 1976 at the same benchmark moment in his presidency.
Obama’s average job approval rate is currently around 61 percent, according to poll composites reported at RealClearPolitics.com.
As the bureau statistics show, no red state had over 12 percent unemployment, while the two states with highest unemployment – Oregon with 12.1 percent and Michigan with 12.6 percent – both voted for Obama.
Drawing causal conclusions from these data are difficult.
Conceivably, states that were suffering more economically at the end of the Bush administration would have had a greater tendency to vote Democratic in the 2008 election.
Still, the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows considerable erosion in Obama’s support, with a 28 percent differential between those strongly approving and those strongly disapproving on Inauguration Day diminishing to a single digit, 5 percent differential as measured four months later, on May 18.
The risk for Obama is that states that voted for him might be disappointed in the economic results so far. The disappointment factor might be especially acute in states such as Michigan where the Obama administration has not been able to keep Chrysler out of bankruptcy courts, despite billions of dollars in government bailouts.
Ohio and Pennsylvania might also be disappointed, as Obama has backtracked from his campaign promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement so as to recover more jobs for American workers that have been lost under the treaty’s outsourcing to Mexico.
With California’s budget on the verge of collapse and unemployment averaging 11 percent in March, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has threatened to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, in a move that proponents argue would generate some $1.6 billion in tax revenue.