Are there tea leaves in Nevada?

Viva la Romney?

Today is the Nevada caucus, an event I’m (not) following closely. I wouldn’t be the first one to think that the very loose process in that state makes it kind of a sideshow. Yet if we’re being serious here, and playing the pundit tea-leaf reading game, I suppose we can look at Nate Silvers predictions, which show:

Nate thinks Ron Paul will do better, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he overcame Newt Gingrich to place in a distant second. Really, though, what does it matter? Mitt Romney will win. That being said, one thing I’d like to do is take a look at some relevant economic information in Nevada, if only to get a better perspective for the Republican voting environment.

The first is the unemployment rate:

Obviously it’s higher than the national average. Another indicator:

And one final graph:

Essentially the state of Nevada saw a housing bubble (price-wise) that busted -predating the recession – a unemployment rate that shot through the roof and per-capita income that plummeted. In other words, these voters should have every incentive to voice their favor of the businessman, Mitt Romney, right?

But what about Ron Paul, the man who is running the “cause campaign” and can basically only compete in open primaries and caucuses? Let’s take a snapshot of the less-urban areas, courtesy of Dave Weigel:

Who is the Pahrump [county] Ron Paul supporter? Al Amiot, a retired Navy veteran from San Diego, says he’s lived in the city for 11 years, ever since he saw a cheap acre and a quarter and decided to built on it.

“There’s over 1000 homes in the valley that are foreclosed on,” he says. “You go on the south end, there are homes foreclosed on. You go on the north end. Same thing. It’s terrible. The banks could have stopped it a long time ago. Instead they let the rich guys buy houses real cheap, then let ’em leave.” Why did this make him want to vote for Ron Paul. “I’m against Obama. I don’t like liars.”

Weigel thinks Paul will do well in the rural areas, and I tend to agree with him. These are areas that were open to Paul’s message in 2008, and even more so now. Which is to say if you combine an emotional attachment to gold and a deep distrust of the federal government (and any other outsider), you have an environment that is ripe for radical explanations and solutions.

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One response to “Are there tea leaves in Nevada?

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