Good for capital investment, job creation, and stock values in the energy sector; bad for average families as higher gas prices erode their wage increases.
That's why Democratic candidates more than Republicans emphasize steps Congress and the Trump administration have taken to roll back Obamacare. Those steps fuel health insurance premium increases that further erode wage gains. In a recent survey for the Democratic Senate campaign, Garin asked voters across 13 Senate battleground states which set of economic facts is most important: big increases in jobs and middle-class tax cuts, or wages not keeping up with inflation and health costs.
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A 62 percent majority — including 91 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents and 34 percent of Republicans — chose the latter. It's because it doesn't work. Instead, Republicans in close races look for traction on other issues.
As it happens, culture-war attacks like that often alienate better-educated, upscale voters who have benefited from tax cuts and swelling portfolios. Trump and Republican candidates have hemorrhaged support from white college graduates. The decades-long stagnation in working-class incomes has repeatedly rattled whichever party holds power. In , voters frustrated over the economy fueled Ross Perot's independent candidacy and Bill Clinton's victory over President George H. In and , as Obama struggled through the aftermath of recession, they ousted Democrats from control of Congress.
In , what Trump called "the forgotten people" in Midwestern states made him president despite Hillary Clinton's arguments that Democratic policies had yielded "real progress" for America's economic recovery. That doesn't mean accelerating growth and reduced unemployment doesn't help limit Republican vulnerabilities. Ready access to jobs relieves stress for some hard-pressed voters and improves assessments of the nation's direction, though a majority still considers America "on the wrong track.
It also creates an opening for Republicans to argue their policies will eventually fatten the pocketbooks of average families even if they haven't already. Their candidates have just over seven weeks to make the case. We haven't finished yet. Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox.
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Urban Dictionary: Feeling it
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