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July 15, 2002

The Swing Voter Financial Crisis

Bush is running into deeply bad waters. Zogby is about to announce a 7 point drop in Bush job approval, which brings him down to 62% job approval. As Joe Conason shows in an earlier Gallup poll, even its slightly better numbers show a big problem for Bush-- with just a quick one-two media brush, 39% of voters think Bush did something illegal or unethical in his Harken dealings. And for a politician with unpopular policies whose only asset is his supposed personal character, this spells deep trouble.

The reason for this meltdown is very deep. Unlike past financial crises, this one is hitting individuals directly, The savings and loan crisis was a big deal in dollar amounts, but the classic 1930s financial reform, deposit insurance, made sure that average folks didn't feel the pain directly-- it just increased the federal deficit as the government cashed out the failed S&Ls.

But this is the first crisis of the post-deregulation world where the upper middle class was promised the sun and the moon if they abandoned fixed pensions for the wonders of ever increased stock returns. And it's killing swing voters, the prototypical soccer moms and well-paid blue collar workers who plunged into the stock market.

Think about it-- most poorer Democratic-leaning voters didn't have any or much money in the stock market, while the richest GOP voters are seeing paper losses but not necessarily having to change their lifestyle. But that middle range of independent voters who thought they were going to retire early with enough to do a little travelling are completely screwed. This is an angry group of voters who aren't going to buy Bush's "it's not all black and white" excuses for corporate accounting.

Posted by Nathan at July 15, 2002 07:48 PM

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