The New York Times reported today that the 2012 presidential election will come down to nine swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The Times did admit:
It would be hard to argue that these states are better off now than they were four years ago, given that they have yet to recover the jobs they lost. Often, that makes a compelling argument for a challenger trying to unseat an incumbent.
However, the Times does say that Obama will probably win anyway:
But political scientists have found that past elections have been more influenced by the changes in the economy in the year or two before the election. And a range of economic data provided by Moody’s Analytics shows that all nine states are rebounding and that most now have unemployment rates below the national average.
Which political scientists have found this? The Times doesn’t say.
If Obama loses, the Times says, it won’t be because he hasn’t done a good job in these states. It will be because of the “grumpy voter effect” – Xu Cheng, a senior economist at Moody’s, defines the “grumpy voter effect” as “despite economic improvement in a state, if the economic situation in a state is really too bad, the voters will discount the improvement.” So, apparently, Bush’s fault.