How the Economy Is Stoking Voter Anger at Incumbent Governors

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Despite rising consumer confidence, Republican and Democratic governors struggle in Florida, Colorado, Michigan and Connecticut.

Only one state has reduced its unemployment more than Florida has over the past four years. And by a host of measures, Colorado’s economy now outpaces nearly every other state in the U.S.

Yet Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, are both battling voter skepticism as they campaign for a second term. Their re-election challenge shows the limits of upbeat economic news among many voters who either haven’t seen much improvement in their own household finances or consider the recovery too weak to trust.

In a two-steps-forward, one-step-back economy, bragging rights elude incumbent governors in both parties.

Unemployment is down and consumer confidence is up, but wages have fallen or flatlined for many Americans. A record number of people work temporary jobs. In Florida, nearly a quarter of homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth.

Despite months of positive U.S. economic trends, President Barack Obama has record-low approval ratings that threaten to undermine the prospects of Senate Democrats from Alaska to Arkansas.

In Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine and Wisconsin, Republican governors are struggling to find their footing in the uneven recovery—much the same as Democratic governors seeking re-election in Connecticut and Colorado.

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