I’m up today at U.S. News with a piece that examines why the improving economy did not help Democrats in the 2014 midterms even though economic growth was the primary reason Obama won reelection in 2012. Briefly, I think there are three related explanations:
First, as I noted in this Bloomberg interview, voters’ negative perceptions regarding economic growth lagged behind objective conditions, due in no small part to the incremental and uneven pace of growth.
Second, voters view economic conditions through their own partisan lenses, and with the midterm electorate shading more Republican compared to 2012, it’s no wonder more voters had a negative perception of the state of the economy.
Finally, many Democratic incumbents were reluctant to tie themselves too closely to Obama, and they also ran for Congress by running against it as an institution. It’s hard to claim credit for macroeconomic improvements when one is also implicitly criticizing the President and Congress.
I’ll be up with a separate post soon taking on some of the more prevalent day-after punditry that is crediting the Republican win to clever advertising, new turnout technology and spending by outside groups.