How important was the economy to the election? According to exit polling data, it was the top issue, polling higher than Iraq, Terrorism, or Corruption.
"To paraphrase a Clinton-era mantra, it really might have been the
economy, stupid. More than 80 percent of voters in an exit poll,
conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison
Media Research/Mitofsky International, said the economy was a very
important or extremely important issue. That percentage was the highest
for any issue, including Iraq and terrorism.
Furthermore, electoral data and government economic statistics
suggest that the economy played a role in the outcome: if your state
wasn’t among the best economic performers in the last six years, judged
by the growth of personal income, it appears that you were three times
as likely to vote to throw the bums out."
In the past, we have discussed the Middle Class Squeeze, and the increasing chasm between the top 10% of earners and everyone else.
It turns out that this schism (to a lesser degree) is also reflected geographically. This lumpy economic recovery is being felt differently in different parts of the Nation. Personal Income gains in particular can have varied dramatically from State to State. Some parts of the country have enjoyed decent wage gains, while many others have not.
What was the the political impact to this uneven growth this election cycle? The faster your
state’s personal income rose over the past 6 years, the more likely you
were to elect incumbent GOP representatives:
click for larger chart
graphic courtesy of NYTimes
Maybe You Did Vote Your Pocketbook
NYTimes, November 12, 2006