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Journal Article

Policy-Oriented Voting in Response to Economic Issues

D. Roderick Kiewiet
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 75, No. 2 (Jun., 1981), pp. 448-459
DOI: 10.2307/1961377
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1961377
Page Count: 12
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Policy-Oriented Voting in Response to Economic Issues
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Abstract

This study explores the hypothesis that voting in response to economic problems is policy-oriented: voters concerned about unemployment are predicted to give greater support to Democratic candidates, while those concerned about inflation are predicted to vote more Republican. In light of evidence from previous research, this study investigates the electoral effects of inflation and unemployment as (1) problems directly experience by the individual, and (2) problems deemed serious for the nation as a whole. Support is strongest for the unemployment side of the hypothesis. Voters personally affected by unemployment gave a modest boost to Democratic candidates in virtually every election. And in years of high unemployment the large percentage of voters who felt it was a serious national problem voted heavily Democratic as well. This study concludes by discussing the important implications these findings have for our understanding of how economic conditions influence voting behavior in American national elections.

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