By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com senior writerSome of the worst economic conditions in the country are where John McCain can least afford them - in electoral battleground states crucial to Republicans' chances of hanging onto the White House.
Florida, Nevada, Georgia, Tennessee and Colorado - states where President Bush won the electoral vote in 2000 and 2004 - have seen their unemployment rate jump substantially the past 12 months, according to the latest readings from the Labor Department.
Numerous studies by political scientists point to economic woes as among the worst possible drags on the chances for an incumbent party's nominee in presidential elections.
"If there is a relationship which is understood and documented over and over and over again, it's the relationship between the state of the economy and people's decision on whether to vote for the incumbent party or whether to throw the rascals out," said Steven Rosenstone, a University of Minnesota political science professor.
Rosenstone said studies point to drops in inflation-adjusted household disposable income as the clearest indicator of trouble for the incumbent's party. And rising unemployment rates are a key drag on income.
So as Barack Obama moves closer to wrapping up the Democratic presidential nomination with primaries in Oregon and Kentucky Tuesday, some think economic woes in the battleground states could lead to a repeat of what happened in 1980 and 1992.
In both of those elections, a weak economy was a big reason why the incumbent president lost.
Ohio, Florida and Nevada are key battlegrounds
Other states that have tended to be Republican strongholds lately are also experiencing economic problems.
For example, Ohio has the highest home foreclosure in the nation, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the nation's tenth worst unemployment rate. Ohio voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004.
Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Economy.com and an economic advisor to the McCain campaign, concedes that this could be a problem for McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.
"A number of battleground states are in recession," said Zandi, referring to Florida, Ohio and Nevada specifically.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
McCain is a Rascal
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