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Politics & Government

Unemployment is More than a National Debate

The jobs report for last month didn'’t bring good news for Pennsylvania, and the Mitt Romney campaign was quick to use rising unemployment to point the finger at President Obama.  But state Senate Democrats are using those same jobless numbers to criticize the Corbett administration.  Christopher Borick, a pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Lehigh County, says the unemployment rate is problematic for Governor Corbett, but since he’'s only halfway into his term, the focus isn’'t on him.

"He of course has the luxury right now of having over two years until his reelection bid," Borick said, "so it’s not as urgent of an issue in comparison with what President Obama and people running this year might feel about bad numbers like this.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate swelled to 7.9%  in July which is up 0.3%.  The monthly increase hasn't been so large since 2009.

Borick said jobs reports can serve just about anyone who picks them up to bolster a political message.

"Any time unemployment numbers come out, they can be spun in a number of ways to advantage a candidacy," he said.

Terry Madonna, a pollster at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster County, says Republicans nationally can make the argument that the economy is in bad shape, but it also affects the standing of GOP governors.

"Partisans will make their arguments either way, but there isn’t any doubt that poor economic conditions in large part responsible for Governor Corbett’'s low jobs performance in poll after poll," Madonna said.