Tuesday Seminar – 25 May

Did Trump Lose Reelection because of COVID-19?

Marco Mendoza Aviña (Université de Montréal)
Semra Sevi (Université de Montréal)

A significant body of literature on retrospective voting shows that citizens evaluate elected officials based on their past performance. In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, the conventional wisdom in both media and academic discourse is that Trump would have been a two-term president absent an unprecedented, global force majeure. In this research note, we address a simple question: Did Donald Trump’s (mis)management of the COVID-19 pandemic impact the 2020 US election? Using data from the Cooperative Election Study, we estimate the effect of exposure to coronavirus cases and deaths on vote choice in last year’s presidential election. While Trump did lose votes because of COVID-19, we find no evidence that he would have won the election under different circumstances. These negligeable effects are found both at the national and state levels, and are robust to an exhaustive set of confounders across model specifications.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 21 May 2021 at 13 h 48 min.