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State Economies and State Taxes: Do Voters Hold Governors Accountable?

Richard G. Niemi, Harold W. Stanley and Ronald J. Vogel
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 39, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 936-957
DOI: 10.2307/2111664
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111664
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
State Economies and State Taxes: Do Voters Hold Governors Accountable?
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Abstract

States have sufficient autonomy in the policies they adopt that voters hold state officials partly responsible for the condition of the state economy. As the best known state official, elected by a statewide constituency, governors in particular are held accountable for the economic performance of their states. With respect to taxes, the clear locus of responsibility in state actions and the high visibility of certain taxes suggest that governors will also be held responsible for increased rates. The performance of the state economy, tax increases, and voters' personal financial situations all influence voting behavior in gubernatorial elections. Logit equations, using 1986 ABC/Washington Post exit polls in 34 of 36 gubernatorial races, combined with economic and tax data from the states. A poor state economy, increases in taxes, and lowered personal finances all contribute to votes against incumbent governors and their parties.

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