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Voice conservation day 4 (video with voice will likely be back on Monday)
Anatomy of a swing state:
Bottom Line: So what is a swing state really? It sounds like a dump question but I’m going somewhere with this. A swing state has traditionally been a state that was decided by 5 points or less in the previous election. Over the years that has become a dwindling number of states as polarization has led to a generally more decided electoral map. In 2008 for example there were only 6 actual swing states by the 5 point or less standard. That’s part of the reason why most pundits focus on the 3 biggest of those 6 (or in the previous election 7) states, election cycle after election cycle. Next in play states…
In play states have traditionally been states decided by 5-10 points in the previous cycle. In 2008 that added an additional 6 states to the mix for a total of 12 states that were either swing or in play. Naturally those additional six states (and 12 total) are the only states that have produced consistent polling data this cycle. After all if a state isn’t at least “in play” why spend time and money polling in it… And that leads me to my point of this story.
Just as state-wide wins in New Jersey (Chris Christie), Massachusetts (Scott Brown), Wisconsin (Scott Walker twice) – surprised the country over the past three years, because those aren’t “in-play” states typically – we may have a similar but different situation on our hands around the country this year.
Right now based on polling data and demographic shifts in the likely voters for this cycle I’m looking at 9-11 swing states and 17 in play states. If 17 states are decided by ten points or less this cycle it would be the most since 1992 & this election would be (and likely is) far more wide-open then most pundits would suggest. We still don’t have reliable polling out of most states that President Obama won by ten points or more but in the smattering of polls we’re getting out of some of those states we’re getting a pretty interesting results. Here are 5 states that are producing an indication they’re actually in play (and had for the most part been written off as easy Obama wins).
Wisconsin: Won by Obama by 14 points in 2008. Current indication – Obama by 2
What we’re seeing is that a ten point or greater margin has been achievable in the early data out of these states. If that’s true then
Confirmation from the Federal Reserve regarding what we already knew about the economy:
Bottom Line: Good news: Most of the country is showing growth & housing continues to be the brightest sector of the economy on the mend nationally. Not so good news: The Fed is confirming that economic growth will continue to be under 2% for the remainder of the year which won’t create meaningful job growth. There was one other takeaway…
Jack Welch along with all analysts were vindicated in the Fed’s report. The household survey that showed more than 800,000 new jobs that became the driver to reduce the unemployment rate to 7.8% was clearly false. Were it a true number it would have been the best month for job growth in 29 years. The Fed’s report not only doesn’t show sudden and dramatic job growth, it shows no improvement in hiring generally. Either there will be dramatic downward revisions in next month’s jobs reports release or the conspiracy theorist will be right…
New foreclosure filings at 5 year low:
Bottom Line: The most important number with regard to distressed properties is new foreclosure filing information. That number shows what the future of foreclosures looks like & that number is the best in 5 years.
The fewest new foreclosure notices went out last month since the fall 2007 (or right before we entered the recession). The number is down 16% over the same time last year and is showing that increased willingness by banks to short-sale properties is helping in addition to HARP 2.0 (which has enabled under-water mortgages to be refi'd for many.
This latest piece of data only further buttresses the housing recovery that’s been underway in 2012.
Bottom Line: Here’s another good news story for you. Another week and more employers that have ramped up seasonal holiday hiring plans. We’re now on track to add more than 413,000 seasonal employees during the holidays and if this trend holds, we’ll add the most seasonal employees since 2008.
Business owner optimism at recession level:
Bottom Line: Now some not so great news… The NFIB survey showed yet another decline in business optimism last month and continues to be at recession levels (complete survey in the link below). Clearly if the average business owner is responding to the business climate as though we are in a recession it’s highly unlikely that something would dramatically shift them into hiring gear (the seasonal companies – not withstanding). The election could provide a catalyst to raise spirits and change course with business in this country but that’s clearly a big unknown.