Interesting Wall Street Journal piece on the fluid situation in the midwest, where the unemployment rates in 5 battleground states remains the focus:
WSJ: “In Michigan and Ohio, the unemployment rate surpasses the national average; a recent business survey in Michigan showed some employers preparing to drop health coverage for their employees, which would further strain the state’s health system. The region’s populations tend to be older, putting further strains on state programs and making Medicare and Medicaid, traditional Democratic issues, especially important. For all those reasons, “the economy is more important than war in the Midwest,” Mr. Sarpolus says. That raises Democratic hopes.
“On the Bush side of the ledger, though, unemployment has ticked downward last month in the region, notably in Michigan and Minnesota. The patriotic themes of the war on terrorism tend to play well in these heartland states. Both Ohio and Wisconsin have large bands of cultural conservatives who lean Republican rather than Democratic on values issues. Michigan has a big gun-owners’ contingent that figures to trust Mr. Bush more than Mr. Kerry.
It all mixes up into a volatile brew. Predictions at this point are hazardous — as illustrated by the fact that Mr. Zogby, surveying for WSJ.com last month, found Mr. Kerry up by 4.6% percentage points in Ohio, while a new survey by the Cleveland Plain Dealer in the same state shows Mr. Bush up by six percentage points.” (NOTE: The WSJ should know better than to compare different data series, varying polling methodologies, and matching a pollster versus a newspaper).
“Expect more turbulent weather, and a race as likely to be decided in Ohio as anywhere.”
Midwest Express: A Campaign Rooted In the Heartland
Capital Journal By Gerald F. Seib