Ohio Poll And Job Numbers
By: Mark W Adams

Obama - Plus 11.5% ?  Plus 14% ?!?  Holy Crap!
Jobs - Minus 7.2% ?  Minus 434,000 ?!? Oh Shit!!

Something stinks with all those numbers.  Not that I don't believe them.  I'm no expert on statistical analysis or unemployment calculations.  It's just that numbers like this usually only exist in some alternate universe.  A figment of a bizzaro imagination.

Look folks, whatever the "experts" say, we've been in a recession for a year now, and we've got a year or two more of the same crap facing us.  Most recessions last no more than 8 months and aren't even declared until they're over.  This one's much harder to obscure.  We aren't so much running with the "hot chick" as running from the ugly one when it comes to our choice in new leadership. 

Ohio, perennial grand prize in the presidential sweepstakes, is right in the middle of our economic woes.

Yesterday, Chrysler eliminated it's entire second shift in Toledo's Jeep plant, over 825 jobs half a mile from my blue-collar bar that caters to these guys and the factory workers and tool-n-die workers, drivers, broom pushers and upholstery makers who supply the place, adding to a steep rise in unemployment claims which were already in recession territory.

When you consider the employer-matched taxes, health insurance premiums, unemployment and workers compensation payments each Jeep employee represents on top of their salary, a modest estimate of the economic effect of losing those jobs is about $90,000 per worker, or almost $75 Million of Toledo's economy was just wiped out.  The mayor said in no uncertain terms the Jeep layoffs, "reflect the disastrous economic policies of the Bush presidency." 

Mayor Finkbeiner announced a three-day shut down of all nonessential government business to try to claw the city out of debt knowing it's tax revenue will be another million or two less than projected with the lay offs.  It was bad before, it never felt like we recovered from the first "W" recession.  Now I feel like I'm at ground zero of the collapse of the real economy.  I remember the feeling, having lived outside of Youngstown, Ohio when the steel mills closed in the late seventies.  (Hey, it's not my fault, dammit.)

Of course, the way it works is exactly the opposite of what the government should be doing.  When all those city-workers lose three days pay, they'll buy less which hurts all the area's small businesses.  We sell a fair amount of Budweiser to guys off work from the city garage down the street -- who will be buying just that much less.  A municipality that cannot run a defict really has no choice, I know.  But knowing that doesn't mitigate the suck.  This will be exactly the opposite of economic stimulation.

But we're a blue county here in Northern Ohio, solidly Democratic.  My Congress woman, Marcy Kaptur, is a netroots hero who voted against the Wall Street bailout, both times, because once again Washington's fix was to help the millionaires and not people who work for a living.  The fact that bad
things are happening in the Rust Belt doesn't phase GOP election strategy.  They only care about the voters who live closer to the River than the Lake.

Nevertheless, the overall Ohio unemployment data has got to effect John McCain's chances here.  There are five Ohio counties that have over 10% unemployment right now -- all but one are outside of the Lake Erie watershed and each voted strongly for Bush in 2004. (Tables and maps available here.)  Huron in Northern Ohio, Van Wert in the West, Pike, Meigs and Morgan counties in the South and Southeast have the worst jobs outlook in the state right now.  Believe it or not, the numbers say this won't matter as much as you might think, not everywhere.

It could be enough to push Obama over the edge, but some red counties in Ohio are just plain stubborn.  Here's why.  Back in September of 2004, Pike county, Bush country, had a 9.5% unemployment rate.  Meigs was at 9.6% and Morgan boasted 9.8% out of work.  None are really that much worse now at 10%+, a point or so higher in these Appalachian foothills.  Despite tumbling over they abyss they were only looking into four years ago, they'll vote for McCain.  Watch. 

I think the economy will, however, make a difference in a northern county like Huron whose unemployment was high enough at 6.7% in '04, or in western Van Wert which only saw a 4.9% jobless rate when they voted for Bush.  These folks don't know what hit 'em now that they're in double digits.

Of course outside of Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati there are few "red" zones with large population centers in Ohio, and the vote counts in the urban centers were very close last time.  Van Wert county, on the other hand, is one of the least populous, so it's nothing to get excited about if it switches to the Democrat on the heels of doubling it's unemployment rate (even though it would be noteworthy and very welcome if it went blue).  

Huron county is another story, half-way between the Cleveland and Toledo metro areas it would be a healthy addition to the blue column -- but they don't have an especially high concentration of voters there either, but it's even more welcome to join the reality based community. 

As for the big red counties, the Dayton metro area (Montgomery county) is witnessing a 7.8% unemployment rate, 1.3% more than in October of 2004.  That translates into 17,700 people on the streets then compared to 21,300 now.  To give you an idea how that compares to Van Wert county, there were only 14,827 total voters there in 2004, less voters in Van Wert than job hunters in Dayton. 

Huron county turned out 25,557 voters in 2004.  Today there are more people scouring the help wanted ads in Hamilton county (Cincinnati) which had 23,500 unemployed in October of 2004 (5.6%) and just barely went for Bush.  Now there are nearly 3,000 more people looking for work there (6.3%) who are not only bitter (whether they cling to guns and religion or not), but who have family and friends depending on them who are equally pissed off at the way the Republicans have mis-managed everything economic.  Just these slight downturns in the Southwestern Ohio metro centers may have a much more dramatic effect on voter sentiment than more rural areas facing unemployment rates they haven't seen in generations.

Columbus, much like Washington DC, really doesn't have a workforce that makes anything -- except trouble and paperwork for the rest of the state.  While higher than four years ago, they still are around the national average when it comes to joblessness.  It's more about the availability of enough working voting booths there than working people.  If everybody in Franklin county who wants to vote, gets to vote -- they go blue.

Loyal GOPers, bless their deluded souls, have a built-in excuse for losing this one.  Somehow, "mysteriously," the economy tanked.  But this is an economy of their own making.  I will never forget Bush's second Treasury Secretary Snow, a Toledo native for Pete's sake saying outsourcing was a good thing back in '04, and that new jobs were coming to Ohio.  What bull!

The sad part, for the Republicans anyway, is that despite all of this John McCain actually had a chance to win on this issue.  He had a real shot at owning the economic argument.  No really, he did. 

He could have parlayed that campaign "suspension" gimmick into a true maverick moment, rejected the bailout on principle alone as passionately as did Marcy Kaptur, but for entirely different reasons -- earmarks -- and spent the last two months lambasting Bush for his financial fecklessness without fear of damaging his support with the conservative base since there is no definition of conservatiism that can be applied to Bush's fiscal policies.

What a douche.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...


Should The top management of the Public listed company be responsible for the company performance, eg company nearly get wind up?


Are you a Partisan?

Should they give their view......?