The Impact of COVID-19 on Trump’s Electoral Demise: The Role of Economic and Democratic Accountability

The Impact of COVID-19 on Trump’s Electoral Demise: The Role of Economic and Democratic Accountability

By Anja Neundorf and Sergi Pardos-Prado, University of Glasgow

 

Did the COVID-19 crisis have a significant effect on Trump’s electoral demise? We present survey experimental evidence on two substantial effects of the pandemic. First, information on the unprecedented economic downturn significantly depressed Trump’s popular support across all partisan groups, and especially among middle-low and low-income respondents. Second, being primed on the poor public health record of the Trump administration reduced its electoral prospects among citizens between 55 and 70 years old. We conclude that the 2020 election was a normal contest compatible with theories of economic voting and political competence. Our results suggest that democratic accountability can be a powerful determinant of the fate of populist leaders once in power.

 

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