RCP — The Politics Of Unemployment

Just as most believe President Obama’s popularity is tied to a large extent by the economic outlook, there’s a clear correlation between governors’ approval ratings and their state’s unemployment rates. Using public polling available recently in 33 of the 50 states, we note the following trends:

The average unemployment rate of governors with a 50 percent or higher approval rating is 7.4, compared to 9.5 for governors under the 50 percent mark.
In the nine states were governors had approval ratings higher than 60 percent, the average unemployment rate was 6.9 percent. In the 10 states where governors’ approval ratings were lower than 40 percent, the average unemployment rate was 10.6 percent.
Of the states with unemployment rates of 7 percent or less, all but one governor had an approval rating above 50.
There are, of course, some outliers, and in several cases other factors are at play to explain a governor’s political weakness. For instance, Iowa’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation, and yet Gov. Chet Culver (D) had an approval rating of just 41 percent in a February Rasmussen poll.

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