Commenter Fair Economist raises a possible point of political hope for PPACA in that states that implement PPACA even with the Supreme Court fucking with them are doing well, and states that are actively monkey-wrenching PPACA are doing poorly.
They got away with the comparisons in 2014, but if 2016 involves a comparison to other states doing much better *and* their own states having done better with Exchange subsidies
I was in a twitter conversation with Sheldon Weisgrau who is a technical expert and ACA advocate in Kansas where he brought up the same general point:
— Sheldon Weisgrau (@ACAResource) December 4, 2014
I think messaging is fundamentally a magical talisman. A good message may move a point or two of public opinion in a reasonably short time frame (a year or less) if it is an opposed message with some elite signalmakers pushing back against the message. It is not a panacea. Most people don’t make complex multi-variate comparisons across time and space as an operative part of their voting calculus. Instead they rely on far simper heuristics of “how am I doing, how are my friends/family doing, and do I feel secure…” That last phrase “feel secure” basically contains a massive error term as it could include quite a bit of non-economic uncertainty/fear/comfort etc. Finally, we as a species fear loss far more than we prize gains.
We know for modeling purposes that the American voting public has an extreme recency bias in voting in presidential elections. People assess what the ecnomomic situation is two to three quarters before the election, anchor their impressions there and vote from that basis. A quick up-wards pop in the 4th quarter of the previous year and the 1st quarter of the election year is an amazing aid to an incumbent, and a pair of snowmagedeons as well as an inventory reduction could be political diseaster greater than the American public seeing a candidate ask for and enjoy fancy mustard. A standard Federal Reserve recession at the start of a first term is probably a President’s campaign manager’s best friend as there would be a very high probability of a rapid V-shape recovery in the second half of the first term.
We saw it this election cycle. Menzie Chinn at Econbrowser has been running a very long series of posts on the economic performance of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Minnesota has embraced standard Keynesian economics and Obamacare. Wisconsin has had a public policy of attempting to become the Mississippi of the North — low wage, low service, low tax, low education. Minnesota on employment, growth and government budget projections has massively outperformed Wisconsin in the past four years. Wisconsin has consistently lagged the national averages while Minnesota has consistently met or beat national averages.
Yet both states handily re-elected their incumbenet governors despite vastly different policy regimes producing clear differences in results.
Good messaging helps, but it won’t help much. Comparative performance helps, but it does not help much; if comparative economic performance was a major determinant of political affiliation, the South would have moved rapidly away from reactionary white power at some point in the past three hundred years. Absolute performance is the determinant — are things better but not are things as good as they could be, but is the first derivative positive?