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

See all articles by Brandice Canes-Wrone

Brandice Canes-Wrone

Princeton University - Department of Political Science; Princeton University - Department of Political Science; Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

Jonathan T. Rothwell

Gallup; Brookings Institution

Christos Makridis

Stanford University; Institute for the Future (IFF), Department of Digital Innovation, School of Business, University of Nicosia; Arizona State University (ASU); Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Date Written: June 29, 2020

Abstract

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

Canes-Wrone, Brandice and Canes-Wrone, Brandice and Rothwell, Jonathan T. and Makridis, Christos, Partisanship and Policy on an Emerging Issue: Mass and Elite Responses to COVID-19 as the Pandemic Evolved (June 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3638373 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3638373

Brandice Canes-Wrone

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Jonathan T. Rothwell

Gallup ( email )

901 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
United States

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Christos Makridis (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Institute for the Future (IFF), Department of Digital Innovation, School of Business, University of Nicosia ( email )

Nicosia, 2417
Cyprus

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ( email )

810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420
United States

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