When he coined the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid,” former President Bill Clinton’s campaign manager in 1992 had a point – at least among Ohio voters.
According to an analysis of previous surveys conducted by NBC-affiliated organizations and Suffolk University, the number of voters in the state of Ohio who have cited the economy as the primary worry that drives them to the polls has gradually increased since the year 2016. As issues like healthcare and immigration become less pressing, others like the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the attack on the Capitol on January 6 have prompted other worries to surge to the top of the list.
“Supermarket bills are 30, 40% higher, so instead of spending $100, it’s now $130,” said director of Emerson College polling, Spencer Kimball. “This is starting to take some impact on the American voter, and that’s what we’re looking at in these midterms.”
Despite the fact that the proportion of Ohio residents who cited the economy as their primary worry more than doubled between 2016 and 2022, the state’s economic woes have always been expressed in a variety of forms throughout the course of its history.
According to Herb Asher, an ex professor of political science at Ohio State University, the response to the question “What are the top three issues in Ohio?” has been a no-brainer throughout the past 30 or 40 years: “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” he stated.
“Ohio has been a state that’s been undergoing an economic transformation where we’ve lost a lot of our manufacturing jobs over the last number of decades,” Asher said. “And so communities that were once prosperous, you know, really are struggling right now.”
Today, however, Asher stated that the employment news regarding Ohio is good news. According to him, the unemployment rate in the state is 4%, which is slightly higher than the national rate, but there are more job vacancies than there are people who are eager to fill those jobs.
According to Kimball, the rising cost of living, including inflation and rising prices for petrol, groceries, and housing, has touched a nerve among Ohio voters.
“Three years ago, you say, ‘I’m going to retire, I’ve got my plan, here’s my retirement, here’s my Social Security,’” Kimball said. “Now, the economy has changed, and you’re no longer feeling as comfortable in that retirement period. You’re 35 to 49 years old trying to buy a house today – much more difficult than it was three years ago.”
As was the case in previous elections, Asher stated that the political candidates running for office in Ohio have focused their campaigns on the subjects that are most important to Ohioans while avoiding issues that could turn off their base of support.