Decision MediaWorks

Do Real Jobs Really Pay for The Jobs Governor?

The mantra of “jobs” has been echoing through the halls of the capitol since the last days of the Crist era.

Governor Rick Scott has hung his hat on being “The Jobs Governor.” But has it worked? Our hypothesis on the virtues of jobs (private sector jobs, specifically) is twofold:

1. Gainfully employed people are satisfied with the status quo and will support incumbents.

2. Gainfully employed people want to keep more of their earnings and will vote for Republican tax policies.

We designed a simple test of the jobs hypothesis. We looked at private sector employment in every 2002 and 2012 drawn House and Senate district and plotted it alongside Scott’s performance in that seat. The resulting interactive graph (and more analysis) is below. Be sure to explore the filter and mouse over tool tips.

A few takeaways:

- Interestingly, the results show that private sector employment is negatively related to Scott’s performance. In fact, for every 1% gain in private sector employment, the Governor lost .30% of the vote share.

- Or, we could be seeing that voters with jobs just are not motivated by a jobs message. An interesting paradox for a Governor who is focused on creating jobs.

- The relationship here is somewhat weak, suggesting that the portion of voters employed in private sector jobs actually had very little bearing on Scott’s 2010 outcome.

- The voter perception of jobs being created may be more valuable than the same voter holding a private sector job. Example: Retirees or active duty-military who vote conservatively but do not actually hold private employment.

In the coming weeks, we will look at more demographic and economic factors and how they will impact the 2014 gubernatorial contest.

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