With the Michigan and Arizona primaries over, the focus of the GOP presidential campaign turns to Super Tuesday, during which voters in ten states (Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia) will cast their ballots.
According to the latest data from Corelogic, some of these states are among those hardest hit by the housing crisis, with some of the highest rates of underwater mortgages (where the homeowner owes more in mortgage payments than the house is currently worth) outside of the housing crisis’ big three: Arizona, Nevada, and Florida. Here’s a quick look at the percentage of homes underwater in the worst hit Super Tuesday states:
– Georgia: 33 percent (5th highest in the country)
– Idaho: 25 percent
– Ohio: 23.9 percent
– Virginia: 23 percent
These four states all have percentages of underwater homeowners that are higher than the national rate of 22.8 percent. But so far, even as they campaigned in Arizona, Nevada, and Florida, the GOP presidential candidates have shown precious little concern for underwater homeowners, and have yet to offer a single substantive solution to the still-burning housing crisis.
Mitt Romney’s solution, for instance, is to simply let the housing market “hit bottom,” while Newt Gingrich’s is to repeal Wall St. reform. Romney even earned himself a rebuke from Nevada Republicans (including one who endorsed him) for his lack of a plan on housing.
“The easy answer to why Republican candidates don’t talk about this is they don’t have any type of solution,” said University of Nevada-Reno Professor Eric Herzik. As the campaign turns to more states still feeling the pain of the housing bubble, the candidates will have another golden opportunity to show that they actually care about keeping Americans in their homes. But we’re not holding our breath.