"The economy, stupid" is a phrase that was coined by James Carville in 1992. It is often quoted from a televised quip by Carville as "It’s the economy, stupid." Carville was a strategist in Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against incumbent George H. W. Bush. His phrase was directed at the campaign's workers and intended as one of three messages for them to focus on. The others were "Change vs. more of the same" and "Don't forget health care."
Clinton's campaign advantageously used the then-prevailing recession in the United States as one of the campaign's means to successfully unseat George H. W. Bush. In March 1991, days after the ground war in Kuwait, 90% of polled Americans approved of President Bush's job performance. But during the following year, Americans' opinions turned sharply; 64% of polled Americans disapproved of Bush's job performance in August 1992.
In order to keep the campaign on message, Carville hung a sign in Bill Clinton's Little Rock campaign headquarters that read:
- Change vs. more of the same.
- The economy, stupid
- Don't forget health care.
The phrase has become a snowclone repeated often in American political culture, usually starting with the word "it's" and with commentators sometimes using a different word in place of "economy". Examples include "It's the deficit, stupid!" "It's the corporation, stupid!" "It's the math, stupid!", and "It's the voters, stupid!"
- Agiesta, Jennifer. Approval Highs and Lows Archived 2008-10-12 at the Wayback Machine. The Washington Post. 2007-07-24.
- Kelly, Michael (October 31, 1992). "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: The Democrats -- Clinton and Bush Compete to Be Champion of Change; Democrat Fights Perceptions of Bush Gain". The New York Times.
- Plumer, Bradford. It's the Deficit, Stupid!. Mother Jones. 2004-09-16.
- Ivins, Molly. It's the Corporation, Stupid. AlterNet. 2006-02-23.
- Falvey, Christopher J. It's the Math, Stupid. The VN/VO. 2005-01-03.
- "It's the Voters, Stupid" Time 2008-01-21