Posted by | May 20, 2012 07:56 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

I’ve posted in the past about the sagging approval ratings of the GOP governors elected in 2010.  Commenters have wisely said that once the economy improves, Governors Kasich (pictured), Scott, LePage etc. will be fine.  One problem with that argument is that same improving economy will help Democratic President Obama (and these commenters seem sure he will lose).  The paradox was on full display in Ohio recently as recounted by Steve Benen:

Kasich noted a website his administration created, listing 80,000 job openings in Ohio, many of which are “exciting opportunities” for young workers, underscoring the state’s growing economy.

You could almost hear Romney wince while Kasich was talking. The Republican presidential hopeful doesn’t want Ohio voters talking about exciting opportunities and a growing economy; he wants Ohio voters feeling depressed and hopeless. The governor was stepping all over his ally’s message. . .

The problem is not limited to Ohio.

Many of the nation’s key swing states — Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania — are led by Republican governors, each of whom are eager to tell their constituents that the economy is improving, jobs are being created, and there’s reason for optimism.

At the same time, those same GOP governors are working to elect Romney, who is trying to tell their constituents that the economy isn’t improving, jobs aren’t being created, and there’s reason for pessimism.

Both parties have to confront this problem.  As President Obama touts the economy in these swing states, he’ll be helping GOP governors.  As Romney assails it, he’ll be hurting those same governors.  It will be fascinating to watch everyone walk this tightrope and see who falls off.

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Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.