Free Markets, Free People

Jobless Rate Key To 2010 Results?

Neil King thinks the unemployment rate will be on of the keys to outcomes in 2010.

“Unemployment is the leading economic indicator when it comes to politics,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart. “Anytime unemployment hits double digits, it’s hard to see the party in control having a good election year.”

Economists generally predict that the number of people out of work will continue to inch up next year, even if the economy begins to rebound. Most see the jobless rate peaking at around 10.5% in the summer. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said Sunday that his own hunch was that the economy would turn around over coming months, but that unemployment would “penetrate the 10% barrier and stay there for a while before we start down.”

As Dale has noted, if we were calculating unemployment as we did in 1974, we’d be in the 17% area. That means a lot of voters are hurting and the one place they can voice their displeasure is at the ballot box. Additionally, by 2010 the “we inherited this” gig will have been up for some time. Democrats in Congress have been in charge for almost 4 years now. Politically that means this is their economy. The last time unemployment was over 10% during a midterm, the Republicans lost 26 seats in the House.

Then there’s the stimulus which was touted to be the answer to unemployment. The current administration promised that passing it would keep unemployment down in the area of 8%. But after its passage it didn’t even slow the growth of unemployment, a fact Republicans are sure to point out in the coming year.

As it turns out, Democrats may be happy to just lose 26 seats. Republicans are targeting 54 vulnerable Democrats, 49 of which come from districts John McCain carried in 2008.

Add in Afghanistan, health care, cap-and-trade and the huge expansion of government and the fact that Congress is deeply unpopular, losses in the 40s might not be as out of the question as one might think (think of an energized Republican base and a dispirited Democratic base with independents leaning to the GOP side).



8 Responses to Jobless Rate Key To 2010 Results?

  • Nice Piece!

    Democrats have put performance quality over policy substance for some time. By 2010 (or perhaps even in the next three weeks in VA and NJ)this should make a real difference. Unemployment (speaking from personal experience) will help drive Democrats from their lofty positions of privilege. Iran, Afghanistan and the President’s foreign policy gaffes only prove He is Jimmy Carter on steroids.

    Like Hollywood, Democrats value performance over substance. Obama is a great speaker but a horrible public servant. Hollywood put out a bunch of flops this summer… Obama is putting out His share of ‘flops’ as well ( )

  • The electorate tends to have a short attention span and a ‘what have you done for me lately’ attitude, as was seen in the way that McCain’s numbers tanked as the economic problems became center stage last September and October. Democrats are hoping for an economic rebound, while Republicans are relying on the likelihood that the economy will continue to struggle long enough to allow them some gains in 2010.

  • This all depends on who the Republicans run. Even an unpopular incumbent will beat a cr*p challenger every time, and the Reps have a positive genius for fielding the ideologically-pure-but-completely-unelectable.

  • It’s more than just unemployment. What they want, Americans don’t want. Ask the man on the street if he wants to pay more for inferior government healthcare. Ask him if he wants his energy costs to increase by 80%; if he wants workers to be denied a secret ballot, of if he wants open borders. Does he want to lose the war in Afghanistan?

    The public opposes the way the democrats have railroaded through their legislation. Unless the majority makes a change in their attitude and openness, they are in big trouble. Accusing the republicans of being the party of “no” doesn’t hold water when they have significant majorities and the presidency.