Friday, February 26, 2010

The Forbes Misery Index and What It Means Politically

Some hay was made recently when Forbes named FIVE Ohio cities in its top 20 most miserable cities in the nation.

They determined their misery index using the following formula:
Our Misery Measure takes into account unemployment, as well as eight other issues that cause people anguish. The metrics include taxes (both sales and income), commute times, violent crime and how its pro sports teams have fared over the past two years. We also factored in two indexes put together by Portland, Ore., researcher Bert Sperling that gauge weather and Superfund pollution sites. Lastly we considered corruption based on convictions of public officials in each area as tracked by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Here are the chosen cities, from most horribly miserable to less horribly miserable.
[click to enlarge pictures]

Now we could debate over the variables included in the study all day, but for the sake of argument let's assume Forbes is right and 1/4 of the most miserable cities in the nation are, in fact, in the northern half of Ohio.

In that case, we would then have to consider the effect of misery on a voting population.

A study reported by Taegan Goddard's well-read (and left leaning) Political Wire says the following: and large, trust in government is driven by the economy. "People trust government when times are good. They don't trust it when times are bad."

A comparison of the trust level of American voters with the change in per capita disposable income is particularly striking. "The economy explains about 75% of the variance in trust... Of course the economy is not the only important factor. But it gets far less attention than it deserves when the hand-wringing begins."
So, if "times are bad" in these five Ohio cities, as the Forbes analysis suggests, then the electorate will act accordingly and distrust the Party in power.

Now, what do all five of these cities have in common? They all vote Democrat.

So, what happens if these large cities that normally serve as a source of high numbers of Democratic votes decide to either vote against Strickland or not vote at all?

Exactly. It benefits Kasich, Portman, and the rest of the GOP ticket.

I think it's safe to say that the Democrats hope things turn around in Northern Ohio pretty damn soon.

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