This article was last updated on December 27
In a presidential campaign, you hear lots of rhetoric on the how bad the economy is (Republican viewpoint) or how things are much better than in 2008, when we were at the depths of the recession and had a different president (Democrat viewpoint). On a monthly basis, media outlets publish key economic statistics like the unemployment rate, GDP growth, trade deficit etc. But my assumption is that people (a.k.a voters) care much most about their own personal statistics – pay raises at their jobs, increases in their savings and retirement accounts (net worth) and their ability to buy the things they want and need.
While it makes interesting conversation and good/bad news stories, most people don’t really care about the exact numerical value of national or macro economic indicators, such as the jobless rate, the inflation rate or the growth rate. Those numbers are too abstract and what is happening at national level may be very different to what is happening locally and in your household. People are going to vote purely based on their own circumstances. If you have had or are in a steady job it is likely you won’t care what the unemployment rate is when you cast your vote. If you are government worker, you have seen no pay raises in the last few years and so a projected national average pay increase of 2% in 2013 is likely to mean little to you.
Although the flood of economic indicators every week may lead us to believe that the economy is as changeable as the weather, in reality the economy changes directions very slowly. Likewise, voters alter their perceptions of the economy slowly. So it is unlikely that the overall economic climate will be a big factor when people vote in 2013, rather it will be their personal economy that matters more.