It is hardly surprising that voters’ moods and their assessments of the incumbent president are strongly colored by current economic conditions. From the standpoint of good government, however, their myopic focus on current conditions seems quite counter-productive. On one hand, myopic economic voting provides little electoral incentive for presidents to generate income growth through most of their terms, and a perverse incentive to artificially boost election-year growth with tax cuts and other gimmicks. On the other hand, myopic economic voting seems unlikely to contribute to post-election prosperity, since income growth between now and Election Day will shed little real light on whether the economy would fare better over the next four years under Obama or Mitt Romney.
Larry Bartels, in the New York Times. More here.