Americans Weirdly Sanguine About Local Economic Conditions

A blog about business and economics.
June 22 2012 4:26 PM

Americans Weirdly Sanguine About Local Economic Conditions

1340396772734

The state of the national economy is pretty bad, which means that on average the state of local economies in the United States is also pretty bad. But as Andrew Gelman illustrates, citing Gallup data, most Americans are pretty sanguine about local conditions.

The partisan split on this should reenforce the conclusion that the economic conditions that matter politically are national ones since that's where you see the motivated reasoning start to take hold as Republicans suddenly develp a wildly bleaker view than independents. When it comes to local affairs the assessment is upbeat and most people don't seem to be thinking with their partisan political brains turned on.

Advertisement

Local positivity bias is a fairly common public opinion result. Most people, for example, think that the schools in their neighborhood are fine but that the national picture is very troubled. I tend to think this drives erratic politics, as voters are nominally committed to sweeping changes to alter big national problems but actually extremely averse to concrete changes in their lives since they're pretty upbeat about the local situation.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 21 2014 11:00 AM Sometimes You Just Need to Print Your Photos the Old-Fashioned Way 
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.