Monday, November 1, 2010

Senate races and economic stress, by state

From Phil Izzo of The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 1:
The economy isn’t the only thing driving Senate races, either.

An earlier Real Time Economics post noted that many Democrats in congressional districts that performed better than the national average are more at risk than Democrats in harder-hit districts.

The Senate picture is more complicated — states, particularly big ones, can encompass many small economies that differ significantly. According to polling data compiled by web site Real Clear Politics, just four of the 19 Senate races for seats currently held by Democrats are considered safe wins for the incumbent party. Two of those four — Hawaii and Maryland — are in states with economies that were worse than the national average between 2009 and 2008, according to data on home prices, unemployment and poverty from the Census Bureau. Two are in states that did better — Vermont and New York.

To be sure, the economy has weighed on Democratic incumbents Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) who are in closely contested races. Nevada notched the worst performance of any state from 2008 to 2009. California also performed significantly worse than the national average.

But, the two Senate seats considered most likely to switch parties from Democrat to Republican are in states that are among the top 20 economic performers — Arkansas and North Dakota.

The following chart lists each state and provides an index based on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey that includes changes from 2008 to 2009 in home prices, the percent of the population aged 16 to 65 that was unemployed and the poverty rate.


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