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The COVID-19 Pandemic and the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

Leonardo Baccini, Abel Brodeur and Stephen Weymouth

No 710, GLO Discussion Paper Series from Global Labor Organization (GLO)

Abstract: What is the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 U.S. presidential election? Guided by a pre-analysis plan, we estimate the effect of COVID- 19 cases and deaths on the change in county-level voting for Donald Trump between 2016 and 2020. To account for potential confounders, we include a large number of COVID-19-related controls as well as demographic and socioeconomic variables. Moreover, we instrument the numbers of cases and deaths with the share of workers employed in meat-processing factories to sharpen our identification strategy. We find that COVID-19 cases negatively affected Trump's vote share. The estimated effect appears strongest in urban counties, in swing states, and in states that Trump won in 2016. A simple counterfactual analysis suggests that Trump would likely have won re-election if COVID-19 cases had been 5 percent lower. Our paper contributes to the literature of retrospective voting and demonstrates that voters hold leaders accountable for their (mis-)handling of negative shocks.

Keywords: COVID-19; pandemic; elections; political behavior; pre-analysis plan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4) Track citations by RSS feed

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https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/225990/1/GLO-DP-0710.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: The COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 US presidential election (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: The COVID-19 Pandemic and the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: The COVID-19 Pandemic and the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election (2020) Downloads
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