Our colleague Joel Kotkin has an excellent analysis of how the economic messages of Barrack Obama and HIllary Clnton might play this Tuesday in Texas and Ohio. Writing for the web site Politico, Joel observes that the two states are economically polar oppositess--Ohio a stagnant rust belt economy and Texas a vibrant up and coming state that may well eclipse California's economy sooner rather than later.
These patterns suggest some surprises in store for the candidates. Generally speaking, Hillary Rodham Clinton has done best among downwardly mobile and older voters. In relatively healthy, economically diversified Wisconsin, this appeal proved largely ineffective. But Ohio, battered by industrial decline and too many ties to Detroit, could provide a more fertile ground for Clinton's newfound populism.
Texas' much stronger economy poses more of a challenge. There are some serious issues – for example, a very high percentage of uninsured people in the state – which Clinton could exploit. But anti-trade rhetoric, in which Barack Obama has also indulged, and promises to bail out distressed homeowners likely will have less appeal in Texas than in places such as Ohio, Michigan and, if it gets that far, Pennsylvania.
Interesting, Joel also points out that techies and CEOs seem to be attracted to Texas's low housing costs, free market business climate, and lack of an income tax. Ohio, on the other hand, has tried unsuccessfully to revitalize its economy through tax breaks and glitzy downtown development schemes.
For more on Ohio's continued dive into the economc policy abyss, see my commentary for The Buckeye Institute here.