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Politics And 'Fiscal Stability'
Politics And 'Fiscal Stability'

AIR DATE: November 8, 2012

Some key economic indicators may influence how you vote. Yale political science professor Jacob Hacker measures something called “economic insecurity” – specifically, he looks at people who’ve experienced a decrease in income of more than 25%, either as a result of job loss or an increase in medical expenses.

His latest study shows a 1.5 decrease in fiscal insecurity in Nevada. While this is hardly a sign that Nevadans’ financial worries are over, Hacker thinks it’s mostly a positive indicator.

“If people have really unstable incomes or they’re experiencing very large fluctuations in medical costs, then we treat them as insecure,” says Hacker. “So when that number goes down, that means fewer people are experiencing economic losses.”

Hacker says Nevadans are also getting more successful at reducing debt. Just like health care costs, says Hacker, that number is becoming more manageable.

“It’s still not a pretty picture,” says Hacker. “One in five Nevada residents are still experiencing these greater losses.”

The degree to which voters are feeling economic hardship can be an influence in how they vote. It’s not the only factor influencing voters, says Hacker, but it’s an important one.

“If the president was facing the same kind of economic upheaval that he did in 2010, I think he would not be looking at a probable reelection as he is now.”

But it’s not as though voters are enthused about how government has managed the recession.

“There’s a broad sense that things are getting better,” says Hacker, “But the pace of the recovery is very slow. If you look at the polls, there’s still a lot of skepticism, pessimism and concern.”

Does your economic situation influence how you’ll vote? Or are you looking at the bigger picture? Share your comments below.


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