Title

Pandemic politics: COVID-19, health concerns, and vote choice in the 2020 General Election

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2021

Abstract

How might personal concerns for one’s health, and public health more generally, affect candidate vote choice during the COVID-19 crisis? In this, study we leverage a national survey conducted in the United States during the earliest phase of the pandemic, and an original survey fielded in Florida as positive COVID-19 rates were rising, to assess how personal exposure to the coronavirus conditions candidate vote choice. Despite heightened partisan polarization, we find that one’s health concerns depressed support for the sitting president, even among Republicans. Individuals who were very concerned about contracting COVID-19, who wore a mask to protect themselves from the coronavirus, and who were more concerned about the virus’s impact on public health than the economy were less likely to support the reelection of Donald J. Trump. As with retrospective and prospective economic voting, the threat of the health pandemic has the potential to alter the calculus of candidate vote choice.

Publication Title

Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties

Volume

31

Issue

S1

First Page

191

Last Page

205

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1080/17457289.2021.1924734

ISSN

17457289

E-ISSN

17457297

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