Partisanship and Policy on an Emerging Issue: Mass and Elite Responses to COVID-19 as the Pandemic Evolved
55 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2020 Last revised: 12 Dec 2022
Date Written: June 29, 2020
A longstanding challenge in assessing the impact of partisanship on individual attitudes is that party affiliation correlates with underlying dispositions. To contribute to this question, we analyze new individual-panel data on the COVID-19 pandemic from 54,216 US adults between March 2020-September 2021. Individual-level fixed effects analysis suggests that the impact of partisanship on reported COVID-19 behaviors varies by their benefits and costs: on actions with high costs such as socially isolating, the impact declines with vaccine availability. However, for lower-cost actions such as masking, the partisanship effect increases post-vaccines. Building on these results, we leverage state-level intertemporal policy variation to examine how a respondent’s co-partisanship with the governor and the governor’s policy choices are related to individual approval of the state response. This analysis, which incorporates state and date fixed effects, finds an effect of partisanship that is substantially tempered, although not eliminated, by the governor’s policy decisions.
Keywords: Beliefs, Coronavirus and COVID-19, Economic Disruption, Expectations, Partisanship, Political Affiliation, Social Distancing
JEL Classification: E66, E71, I12, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation