Double-Digit Unemployment and the end of deflation signals a big rise in the Misery Index Doom for Democrats?

In case you missed it, America’s unemployment rate passed into double-digits and is now at 10.0 percent.

This is a hardship on Americans that has only happened ONE other time in the Post War era: 1982. What happened the last time unemployment broke the ten-point barrier? In 1982, Republicans who held the White House under President Reagan lost 26 seats in the House.

The severity of this just has to be re-stated: this has only happened ONCE since the Second World War. One Other Time. If this rancid environment continues into next Fall, recent losses suffered by Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey will just have been a down-payment on the shellacking the Democrats will receive in 2010.

I’ve offered the proof prior. Unemployment and inflation together are commonly called the Misery Index. The rules are simple: of the last 15 elections, 13 were “Change” elections in which the party that held the White House lost seats in Congress. In those “Change” elections, the average Misery Index in October going into Election Day was 10.1 and the average loss was 26 seats in the House; including, some real drubbings of more than 45 seats.

The Index is at 10.02 now.



But the Index is growing faster than just unemployment. Through the Spring and early Summer, the cause for a smaller Misery Index was aided by a couple of points of deflation. Since Fall, deflation has all but disappeared, causing America’s cumulative Misery Index to rise a point-and-a-half in October alone. We all know that unemployment has been going up since Summer, but American’s scarce greenbacks don’t go as far as they did just a couple of months ago.

History shows none of this is good for the party in power.

Public Opinion Strategies