Gas, Food, Lodging

07/21/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's gas food and lodging keeping people up at night.

At a recent New Hampshire fair with an diverse economic cross-section of people, I noticed a few striking things. First was the high percentage of frowns and furrowed brows. The second was a visibly stark contrast between last year's summer attire and this year's. Last year, the clothes were new. This year they are faded and worn because they are last year's clothes. I heard two people say they were lucky to have a job.

Open a local town paper and the Freddie Mac Fannie Mae situation hits home. More listings for foreclosures than regular sales. More job wanted ads than help wanted. It is almost impossible to get a prius at asking price, but if you're in the market for a used SUV your in luck. A neighbor just bought a 2006 fully loaded Lincoln Navigator for 18K. That's not news, but when nearly every middle class family you ask says they are having vacation at home this year, you realize what a profound difference 4 years can make in the mood of the electorate.

Oil and gas prices have been the most predictive economic indicator for decades; more predictive than any other economic variable.

Out of all that you realize those near universal frowns didn't stay home in mid-term elections, nor are they going to this year. They look angry, stunned even, and they will vent. They also feel way too close to three very real rails- how to pay for gas, food and lodging.