Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Saturday, July 09, 2011 :::

Senior Obama adviser David Plouffe is getting widely pilloried on the right today for claiming that people won’t vote in 2012 “based on the unemployment rate.”
That's been making the rounds. He went on to say
“People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’”
He's right, of course, though for 9.2% of those people - not including those who are not in the official "labor force" - that "own situation" can be described as "unemployed".

I don't understand why his statement was controversial, nor why he thinks this is a fantastic distinction to be making. Maybe he thinks the BLS numbers overstate how bad things are. I see more commentary from people who think they understate how bad things are, as the unemployed have generally been unemployed longer than usual. I'm not sure how labor force participation compares to its usual rate when the headline unemployment number is 9.2%.

::: posted by Steven at 6:56 PM

The thing about that longer duration of unemployment is that it means -- a bit glibly -- that 9.2% of Americans are really getting it in the balls, whereas if the unemployment rate were 8% but with higher turnover some multiple of that would be getting it, perhaps, just hard enough not to vote for the President's reelection. So I could imagine how, in a one-man-one-vote scenario, the current situation would be better for the President than 9.2% would suggest.

It happens to be the case, though, that voters do vote based on their perceptions of how others are doing, not just on how they themselves are doing. If he was asserting the opposite of this -- which, insofar as what he's saying can be interpreted to have content, I believe is the most plausible interpretation -- then he is, in fact, wrong, at least according to the best evidence of modern political science academics.
Post a Comment

Comment Policy

Dollars and Jens
Steven's web-site

Kitchen Cabinet
Colby Cosh
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Corner
The Bleat from James Lileks
Tim Blair
Daily Ablution
Mickey Kaus
Dave Barry
How Appealing
Virginia Postrel
Reason's "Hit and Run"
Captain's Quarters
Roger L. Simon
Power Line
IWF's InkWell
Blogs for Bush
Chetly Zarko
Signifying Nothing
Cosmo Macero
Hub Blog
Ex Parte from Harvard Law's Federalists
Harvard CR blog
Priorities & Frivolities
Daley News
Emil Levitin
Politica Obscura
Wave Maker
Town Watch
Worcester County Repubs

Election '08
Don't Vote
Dave Barry
John McCain

Other Sites of Note
Townhall columnists Cambridge Republican City Committee
Cambridge Chronicle
Robert Winters
Boston Herald
Boston Globe
Boston Metro
Channel 5
Commonwealth Mag
Fox News
Massachusetts Republican Assembly
Robert Benchley Society

U.S. Constitution
9/11 commission report [7 Meg PDF]
Iraq Survey Group report
Fahrenheight 9/11 deceits


Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

Powered by Blogger