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New Hampshire: Moms and the Economy Rule

By Michele McNeil — January 08, 2008 1 min read

No matter which party they identified with, voters in yesterday’s New Hampshire primary are worried about one thing: the economy.

New Hampshire featured big come-from-behind victories for Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a Republican written off months ago, and Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, who was essentially written off in this state after Barack Obama’s resounding victory in Iowa.

With the economy weighing heavily on voters’ minds, what better time for the presidential candidates to start talking more earnestly about how the quality of public schools does — or does not — affect the national economy?

The producers of the 2 Million Minutes documentary recognize the global link between education and our economic survival.

Governors, too, recognize the vital nexus between schools and their state economies. And the presidential candidates are heading into states where residents have big reasons to worry: Michigan (the next primary for Republicans) is still trying to revive itself after the recession earlier in the decade, struggling with a big budget deficit that even forced the state to tamper with teacher retirement benefits. Nevada, another early primary state, is facing a budget deficit — in part because of sluggish tax revenue — which could threaten funding to K-12 education.

In exit polls from yesterday’s primary, 81 percent of Republicans are worried about the economy, with 26 percent “very worried.” Democrats are even more worried.

In addition, the exit polls also revealed an important point: women with children propelled Clinton to her surprise comeback victory over Obama. This gives Sen. Clinton, at least, even more reason to talk about social issues that women traditionally care about, such as education.

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