Defying the Rally During COVID-19 Pandemic: A Regression Discontinuity Approach
Objective: Do people set aside their partisan differences and rally around elected officials during a pandemic? President Trump's delegation of responsibility to the states during the COVID-19 pandemic placed governors on the frontlines of the battle; some have shined and garnered positive national attention, others have wilted under the pressure of the national spotlight. Methods: We use regression discontinuity design and exploit a discontinuity in the state's political events to assess the support of a governor's response to the pandemic. Results: Using survey data from Florida's registered voters, we find that Governor DeSantis's approval dropped by 7 percentage points following his “Safer at Home” order press conference on April 1. Conclusion: Our results suggest that under certain circumstances partisanship can blunt a “rally around the flag” effect. This finding provides context to understanding when and under which circumstances elected officials can expect increases (or decreases) in public support.
Social Science Quarterly
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Shino, E., Binder, M. (2020) Defying the Rally During COVID-19 Pandemic: A Regression Discontinuity Approach. Social Science Quarterly, 101(5), 1979-1994.