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‘Guns and Butter’ in U.S. Presidential Elections

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  • Stephen E. Haynes

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Oregon)

  • Joe A. Stone

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Oregon)

Abstract

Previous models of the popular vote in U.S. Presidential elections emphasize economic growth and price stability, the role of parties and incumbency, and pre-election expectations for the future. Despite an apparent statistical dead heat in the pre-election polls in 2004, formal models instead predict a landslide victory for President Bush. An obvious question is whether this anomaly arises, at least in part, from national security concerns – in particular, the conflict in Iraq. We attempt to resolve this pre-election anomaly by introducing two opposing electoral forces capturing national security concerns, which for the 2004 election reduces President Bush's predicted vote share. In general, the impact of national security concerns on the vote share of the incumbent (or the incumbent's party) may be positive, as in the 1944 election during World War II, or negative, as in the 1952 election during the Korean war and the 1968 election during the Vietnam war.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oregon Economics Department in its series University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers with number 2004-12.

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Length: 11
Date of creation: 29 Aug 2004
Date of revision: 20 Sep 2004
Handle: RePEc:ore:uoecwp:2004-12

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Keywords: presidential; elections; security; war; voting;

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  1. Fair, Ray C, 1978. "The Effect of Economic Events on Votes for President," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(2), pages 159-73, May.
  2. Swank, O.H., 1991. "Popularity Functions Based on the Partisan Theory," Papers 9112-g, Erasmus University of Rotterdam - Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Stephen E. Haynes & Joe A. Stone, 1994. "Why Did Economic Models Falsely Predict A Bush Landslide In 1992?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(2), pages 123-130, 04.
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