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Policy-Oriented Voting in Response to Economic Issues


  • Kiewiet, D. Roderick


This study explores the hypothesis that voting in response to economic problems is policy-oriented: voters concerned about unemployment ore predicted to give greater support to Democratic candidates, while those concerned about inflation are predicted to vote more Republican. In light of evidence from previous research, this study investigates the electoral effects of inflation and unemployment as (1) problems directly experienced by the individual, and (2) problems deemed serious for the nation as a whole. Support is strongest for the unemployment side of the hypothesis. Voters personally affected by unemployment gave a modest boost to Democratic candidates in virtually every election. And in years of high unemployment the large percentage of voters who fell it was a serious national problem voted heavily Democratic as well. This study concludes by discussing the important implications these findings have for our understanding of how economic conditions influence voting behavior in American national elections.

Suggested Citation

  • Kiewiet, D. Roderick, 1981. "Policy-Oriented Voting in Response to Economic Issues," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 448-459, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:75:y:1981:i:02:p:448-459_17

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    Cited by:

    1. Lee Dutter, 1985. "An application of the multicandidate calculus of voting to the 1972 and 1976 German federal elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 405-424, January.
    2. Hibbs, Douglas A, Jr, 2000. "Bread and Peace Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 104(1-2), pages 149-180, July.
    3. Jeffrey S. DeSimone & Courtney LaFountain, 2007. "Still the Economy, Stupid: Economic Voting in the 2004 Presidential Election," NBER Working Papers 13549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dills, Angela K. & Hernández-Julián, Rey, 2014. "Religiosity and state welfare," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 37-51.
    5. Berger, Helge & Neugart, Michael, 2011. "Labor courts, nomination bias, and unemployment in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 659-673.
    6. Eric Dubois & François Facchini & Abel François & Martial Foucault, 2009. "Un modèle explicatif du vote FNSEA aux élections des représentants des chefs d’exploitation aux Chambres d’Agriculture départementales 1995 – 2001," Post-Print hal-01286756, HAL.
    7. Antoine Auberger, 2020. "The impact of economic and political factors on popularity for France (1981- 2017)," Working Papers hal-02501677, HAL.
    8. Nowak, Anna, 2018. "You failed! Government satisfaction and party preferences facing Islamist terrorism," CIW Discussion Papers 6/2018, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    9. Berger, Helge & Neugart, Michael, 2011. "Labor courts, nomination bias, and unemployment in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 659-673.

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