A new report suggests that two-thirds of the 13 presidential election swing states are suffering worse income losses than the national average under President Barack Obama. That, in turn, suggests the 2016 election could become a middle-class revolt.
The swing states are those that lack clear dominance by Democrats or Republicans. They are where presidential elections are usually won or lost on social issues, with liberal city dwellers facing off against conservative suburban and rural voters.
But analysis of state-by-state income data released on September 15 by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey reveals that 8 of the 13 states where the presidential race appears the most competitive have continually suffered from below-average income growth since 2008.
Most Americans are painfully aware that the average income growth in America since Barack Obama took office has been negative, at -2.4 percent. Incomes enjoyed a recent spike in 2015, but as Breitbart News noted, that was partly due to female heads-of-households taking second jobs to just make ends meet.
Despite a $10 trillion build-up of national debt to fund a huge increase in government spending over the last eight years, the Gallup U.S. Economic Confidence Index is -12 percent, meaning more Americans are pessimistic than optimistic about the future.
The Census Bureau also revealed that U.S. income inequality increased last year. The data highlights that the recovery’s income gains were concentrated in central cities, with middle class suburbs and rural areas largely lagging behind over the last seven years. Separately, Gallup found that rather than poor inner-city families making economic gains, the vast majority of urban income gains went to the top 10 percent of wealthy families.
The top regional income gainers in 2015 included the communities surrounding Washington, D.C., where many federal employees live. Average income jumped to $75,847 in Maryland and hit $75,628 in the District of Columbia, according to the American Community Survey.
In June 2016, Politico reported that most pollsters expected changing demographics in the 11 states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin would determine who won the 2016 presidential election. They expected Hillary Clinton and the Democrats “will enter the general election with a perceptible advantage: Of the 11 states most likely to determine the victor, President Barack Obama won all 11 in 2008, and 10 of the 11 in 2012.”
The mainstream-media scoffed at Trump’s unorthodox campaign for economic change, and relentlessly demeaned his motto — “Make America Great Again” — as a retrograde, nativist throwback to an America of the 1950s that was gone for good.
But Trump has relentlessly hammered his economic themes, including immigration and trade, and three months later is now leading 47.2 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 41.7 percent in the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll.
Arguably, the overwhelming driver of Trump’s strength is anger about middle-class Americans falling behind economically . As the details of the Census Bureau report highlight, middle class incomes losses are even worse than the national average in about two-thirds of the swing states, including: Wisconsin -3%; Ohio -3.3%; Michigan -4.5%; Florida -6%; North Carolina -6.7%; Arizona -8.2%; Georgia -8.5%; and Nevada a stunning -15.5%.
Pollsters are still trying to credit changing demographics, and rising Latino populations in particular, for narrowing the Republican advantage in traditionally strong GOP states such as Arizona and Georgia. But as Breitbart News has suggested, the November 2016 election may reveal a huge number of “stealth” voters” who have claimed to be “undecided,” yet plan to turn out and vote for Donald Trump.