Saturday, March 08, 2008

What will be the big issue in the U.S. election?

In a column called The Anxiety Election, Paul Krugman argues that the economy will be the dominant issue in the fall election and notes some recent poll expressing public optimism about the war.

TC believes that rising economic anxiety actually makes the war a more difficult issue for the Republicans. The war has deeply soured the American mood. It will undermine McCain who is clearly identified with the conflict, even if it is not the most important top of mind issue when voters cast their ballots. Even if Americans think the war is going well in the autumn they still won't be happy about it. Victory was supposed to be cheap. Instead Joseph Stiglitz now estimates that the cost will more like three trillion dollars. The right track/wrong track polls are negative today in large part because of Iraq, although the economy may soon displace that concern. In the most recent AP poll, that spread is 73% wrong track/ 22% right track.

Back of mind bitterness about how things have been for the past eight years, which has largely been about the war, will not help the Republicans in the fall. TC hears growing anxiety about the impact of the divisive race for the Democratic nomination. However, recessions are to politics what nuclear weapons are to war. They tend to destroy everything in their path - and in the case of politics that means incumbent governments and political parties.

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