Will the economy be the deciding factor in the 2012 presidential election between Democratic incumbent Barack Obama (left) and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. UMSL political scientist David Kimball recently weighed in on the matter in a St. Louis Beacon article. (Illustration by DonkeyHotey via Flickr)

Bill Clinton introduced the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” during his first presidential campaign. And the economy seems to have factored heavily in every major political race since.

But is the state of the U.S. economy really the primary influence during election season?

David Kimball, associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, recently told the St. Louis Beacon that he expects economic issues to remain a major factor in fall voting. According to Kimball, voters’ minds are often made up on social issues, but if they’re undecided on a candidate, the state of the economy could sway their decision.

So will the economy help or hurt incumbent President Barack Obama or his challenger Mitt Romney? That remains to be seen, Kimball said.

“It’s uncertain now whether the economy is improving well enough to help President Obama, or whether it’s not,” he told the Beacon.

The impact of the economic outlook on Obama’s campaign – good or bad – could affect election races closer to St. Louis. Kimball said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s bid for re-election, for example, is closely tied to Obama.

“If the national economy’s not doing well, the president gets blamed and she gets blamed by association,” he said.

UMSL political scientists have made several news media appearances to help explain the political and election news as it unfolds. Dave Robertson, Curators’ Teaching Professor of Political Science, joins St. Louis Beacon political reporter Jo Mannies monthly to discuss the 2012 election season on “St. Louis on the Air,” a program on St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU. They were most recently guests on the program on May 31. And Terry Jones, professor of political science, recently appeared on “St. Louis Public Radio” to discuss the completed session of the Missouri Legislature.

Visit the Media Coverage page to view more UMSL faculty appearances in the news media.

Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz