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.