Iowa Voters and the Economy

Caucus-goers say the economy is their top concern, but their state is doing much better than others


Iowa may be a political barometer for the nation, but not so much when it comes to the economy.

According to a new poll by the Washington Post, likely caucus goers rate the economy as the most important Election Day issue, over foreign policy and social issues. Within economic concerns, caucus goers say "the deficit" is the most important issue issue facing the nation, ahead of unemployment, taxes, housing and gas prices. As Ezra Klein explains it:

As you probably expected: the economy dominates. But which economic issues are foremost in likely GOP caucus goers minds? If you guessed unemployment, you’re wrong.

My guess is that many of these caucus goers are convinced by Republican rhetoric suggesting the deficit (and government spending, regulations, etc.) are the cause of our high unemployment, and so they’re working off the assumption that the candidate who can cut the deficit is also the candidate who can bring down unemployment. 

It's particularly interesting because Iowa's economy is quite a bit more robust that the rest of the nation. Here are a few stats to prove it:

  • Unemployment rate: 5.7 percent compared with 8.6 percent nationally (November 2011)
  • Change in unemployment insurance claims: -5.1 percent (2010 to 2011)
  • Factory jobs: + 1,100 (2010- 2011)
  • Personal Income: + 3 percent  (2009 - 2010)
  • Farmland Value: + 32.5 percent (between 2010 - 2011)

Not to mention, Iowa's housing prices have remained relatively steady in comparison to the rest of the country.

About the Author

  • Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More
    Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative ClassWho's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here