Go read the whole thing. In general, the higher the unemployment rate, the lower the approval rating for the state's governor.
The release of the monthly unemployment report has spawned something of a ritual of late in Washington. Within minutes of the number being made public, statements come from Republicans and Democrats alike. White House advisers then offer their spin, followed by an on-camera statement from the president himself. All of this is done with an eye toward November, knowing that the state of the economy is bound to be a top concern.
The release of state-by-state data has been considerably less choreographed. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the latest 50-state results Wednesday to little fanfare. But for state leaders, especially those looking for new terms in November, the numbers are just as vital for their political fortunes. And a close look at the data in many cases explains the political peril some governors are in.
Overall, 30 states saw unemployment rate increases from December to January, compared to just nine states that saw decreases. Very few changed by more than a few tenths of a percent in either direction.
But in all 50 states, the number of unemployed workers was higher in January 2010 than it was in January 2009.
Just as most believe President Obama's popularity is tied to a large extent by the economic outlook, there's a clear correlation between governors' approval ratings and their state's unemployment rates.
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