When looking at something like gasoline prices in a historical context, it’s best to look at price fluctuations. The public is likely to be much more forgiving of paying $4.70 a gallon if, this time last year, they were paying $5.70.
The problem for Democrats is that at this point last year, the average price for regular gasoline was just over $3 a gallon. This means gasoline prices are up more than 55% from 12 months ago. No other midterm cycle has shown a rate of increase close to that of the five months before the election.
The closest was 37% in 2006. And since 1978, there has only been one other midterm year (2018) where the rate of gas price growth (in percent) at this point in the cycle was in double digits.
Yet the relationship between gasoline price increases at this point in the medium-term cycle and November’s election results is far from perfect. Gas prices were down at this point in the 1994 cycle, and the White House party (Democrats) lost a net 54 House seats.
The average at this point in medium-term cycles over the past century has been around 3%. We’re over 8% now, almost triple that long-term average.
But like gasoline prices, the effect of inflation on medium-term earnings is far from predictable. Yes, the two years with the highest inflation growth rates (1942 and 1922) saw losses of 44 or more House seats for the White House party.
The 1970 and 1978 midterm cycles featured inflation rates above 6% at this point, but the White House party held its House losses to 15 seats or less.
Again, though, we’re dealing with something on the edge of what we’ve seen historically. I’m not sure we really know how voters will react.
Indeed, the way Americans view the economy as a whole is something without many historical analogies.
The only other midterm since 1994, when so many Americans thought the economy was just right or wrong, was 2010 – and the White House party (Democrats) lost 63 seats and the House majority that year -the.
Five months later, signs point to a great Republican year
What you will see are many more seats held by Democrats who are vulnerable right now (i.e. leaning only to their party or worse).
Since 2000, the number of vulnerable Democratic seats compared to those held by Republicans has been strongly correlated with election results. If the election were held today, the average of these two outfits indicates a Republican gain of about 25 seats in the House. That would give them almost 240 seats. That’s about on par with what happened midterm in 2010.
Moreover, the cause of the Democrats’ problems is quite easy to identify: everything we mentioned in the first half of this column.
In other words, whatever we expect to happen when certain economic metrics are at historically bad levels is happening.
The silver lining for Democrats is that we are still five months away from the election. Things can change. For example, we don’t know how voters will react if the United States Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Democrats are going to have to hope that the unusual economic statistics we’re seeing this year lead to an unusual outcome.
For your brief encounters: Americans love this 72-degree summer thermostat
As I noted above, we are already into summer, by a number of measures. The heat, which I find unbearable, can ultimately lead to discussions about what temperature to set the air conditioner to.
Well, polls show that a plurality of Americans like to set that thermostat at 72 degrees, both day and night.