GOP Convention to Be Held in America's Second-Most Pessimistic City

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In selecting Tampa, the Republican Party has chosen a city nearly rivaling Buffalo as a home to the economically gloomy.

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Mitt Romney holds a newser under a tree outside his campaign offices in Tampa. Reuters

Well, that sounds like a fun time.

The Republican National Convention nominating Mitt Romney (really, the GOP primary is all over but the shouting) this August will take place in America's second-most economically pessimistic metropolitan area, according to a new poll from Gallup. Gallup.png

That survey of perceived economic well-being in 2011, based on more than 80,000 interviews across the nation, found the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., area to be surpassed in its total lack of economic confidence only by Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Washington, D.C., by contrast, leads the nation as the most economically confident metro area. Thirty-eight percent of D.C.-area residents thought the economy last year was improving, while 56 percent thought it was getting worse. Meanwhile, 70 percent of Tampa-area residents thought the economy was getting worse, according to the survey.

It's pretty standard for the host cities of the conventions to become characters in the coverage from them. To the extent that Tampa and its surroundings remain economically depressed by summer, full of struggling people and underwater mortgages, look for the RNC convention site to become an exhibit for the prosecution in the case again President Obama's stewardship of the economy that Romney and the Republicans will be making on the national stage in August. (Of course, there will also be room for plenty of Democratic pushback as rapid responders seek to contrast the inevitable lavish lobbyist- and industry-funded convention parties with the hard times just around the corner.)

Either way, unromantic and sullen Tampa is looking like a smart political choice for the GOP this cycle -- and like a city that will be especially grateful for the economic boon the political conventions inevitably provide.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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