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Still the Economy, Stupid: Economic Voting in the 2004 Presidential Election

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  • Jeffrey S. DeSimone
  • Courtney LaFountain

Abstract

Given President Bush's popularity among relatively poor rural residents and lack thereof among wealthier urban dwellers in the 2004 presidential election, analysts have suggested that voters contradicted their economic self-interests. We investigate whether this conventional wisdom implied an absence of economic voting. Using exit poll data, we estimate whether a change in previous four-year financial status affected the propensity to vote for Bush. The main econometric concern is that underlying preferences for Bush might dictate financial status change responses. Beyond income and several other demographic variables, therefore, the regressions hold constant indicators for state and congressional district, religious affiliation, political philosophy and party, and Iraq war support. Even further controlling for approval of Bush's job performance, economic voting is statistically and quantitatively significant. Effects are asymmetric, with status worsening hurting Bush more than status improvement helped, and persist even among subgroups that provided particularly strong or weak support for Bush.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13549
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Andrew Leigh & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Competing Approaches to Forecasting Elections: Economic Models, Opinion Polling and Prediction Markets," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(258), pages 325-340, September.
    3. 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 159-173, May.
    4. Eisenberg Daniel & Ketcham Jonathan, 2004. "Economic Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections: Who Blames Whom for What," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-25, August.
    5. Kinder, Donald R. & Kiewiet, D. Roderick, 1981. "Sociotropic Politics: The American Case," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 129-161, April.
    6. Bloom, Howard S. & Price, H. Douglas, 1975. "Voter Response to Short-Run Economic Conditions: the Asymmetric Effect of Prosperity and Recession," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 1240-1254, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2016. "Voting and Popularity," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).

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    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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