Partisan Pandemic: How Partisanship and Public Health Concerns Affect Individuals’ Social Distancing During COVID-19

32 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020 Last revised: 9 Jul 2020

See all articles by Joshua Clinton

Joshua Clinton

Vanderbilt University - Department of Political Science

Jon Cohen

SurveyMonkey

John S. Lapinski

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science

Marc Trussler

University of Pennsylvania - Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies Program

Date Written: July 9, 2020

Abstract

Rampant partisanship in the United States may be the largest obstacle to the social distancing most experts see as critical to limiting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyzing a total of nearly 500,000 responses collected daily between Mar 4 and June 6 reveals not only that partisanship is more important than public health concerns for explaining individuals’ social distancing, but also that the effect of partisanship has grown over time – especially among Republicans. All else equal, the relative importance of partisanship for the increasing (un)willingness of Republicans to engage in social distancing highlights the challenge that politics poses for public health.

Keywords: COVID-19, Public Health, Political Behavior, Partisanship

Suggested Citation

Clinton, Joshua and Cohen, Jon and Lapinski, John S. and Trussler, Marc, Partisan Pandemic: How Partisanship and Public Health Concerns Affect Individuals’ Social Distancing During COVID-19 (July 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3633934 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3633934

Joshua Clinton

Vanderbilt University - Department of Political Science ( email )

VU Station B #351817
Nashville, TN 37235-1817
United States

Jon Cohen

SurveyMonkey ( email )

John S. Lapinski

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Marc Trussler (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies Program ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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