A Gubernatorial Helping Hand? How Governors Affect Presidential Elections
AbstractIt is commonly argued in the media that a presidential candidate will be helped in a state by having a governor of the same party in office. However, there is little research to support this claim. To address this question we use a regression discontinuity design. The basic idea behind this is that in very close elections the party of the governor is decided essentially by a coin flip. Focusing on these very close elections therefore allows us to estimate the causal effect of gubernatorial party control. We show that a presidential candidate is not helped, but in fact hurt, by having a governor from the same party. On average, winning the governor’s election leads to a 2–3 percentage point reduction in a state’s presidential vote share in the following election. Using a similar methodology, we also show that voters punish the presidential party when voting for governor in midterm years. Having established these relationships, we explore why this is the case. One possible explanation is a variation of the ideological balancing argument, whereby voters’ choices for one office are conditional on which party holds office at a different level.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 932.
Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 10 Oct 2012
Date of revision:
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More information through EDIRC
Presidential Elections; Regression Discontinuity Design; Electoral Balancing;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-10-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2012-10-20 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2012-10-20 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008.
"Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
- Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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