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How Will Unemployment Impact the Fall Elections?

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Colorado’s unemployment numbers for February were up again, rising three-tenths of a point to 7.7 percent, a number that remains frustratingly high, although it’s well below the national average and last year’s figures, points out the Denver Business Journal.

With elections about eight months away, the big question is, “What will voters think?” And while Republicans hope to cash in on disappointment over health-care reform, The Associated Press writes that “the economy still matters most—unemployment in particular—in a country struggling to emerge from the deepest recession in decades.”

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The AP cites poll after poll as evidence, and Slate turns to University of Denver political scientist Seth Masket, who has charted income growth in the three quarters before the fall midterm campaign season over the last 16 cycles.

“As a general rule, the president’s party loses seats in the midterm,” Slate writes, but Masket finds that “if the economy seems to be growing and people are making more money, they tend to reward the party that’s in power a little more.” Slate’s translation: “An expanding economy in coming months could lessen projected Democratic losses.”

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