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      Voter Response to Short-Run Economic Conditions: the Asymmetric Effect of Prosperity and Recession

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      American Political Science Review

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          Most cited references 4

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          Short-Term Fluctuations in U.S. Voting Behavior, 1896–1964

           Gerald Kramer (1971)
          This paper develops several simple multivariate statistical models and applies them to explain fluctuations in the aggregate vote for the United States House of Representatives, over the period 1896-1964. The basic hypothesis underlying these models is that voters are rational in at least the limited sense that their decisions as to whether to vote for an incumbent administration depend on whether its performance has been “satisfactory” according to some simple standard. Because of data limitations, the analysis focuses on measures of economic performance, treating other aspects of an incumbent's performance, such as its handling of foreign affairs, as stochastic perturbations of the underlying relationship to be estimated. (Examination of residuals suggests this assumption is not unreasonable, at least during peacetime.) Possible effects of coattails from presidential races, of incumbency, and of secular trends in the underlying partisanship of the electorate are also taken into account. The models, estimated by maximum-likelihood methods, are found to be successful. Close to two-thirds of the variance in the vote series is accounted for, and the structural coefficients of the models are of the correct signs and of quite reasonable magnitudes. Economic growth, as measured by the changes in real per capita income, is the major economic variable; unemployment or inflation have little independent effect. Presidential coattails are also found to be of some importance.
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            Determinants of the Outcomes of Midterm Congressional Elections

             Edward Tufte (1975)
            An explanatory model for the outcomes of midterm congressional elections is developed. Midterms are a referendum on the performance of the President and his administration's management of the economy. The explanatory model of midterm congressional elections is sufficiently powerful so as to yield honest and accurate pre-election predictions of the national two-party vote in midterm elections. These predictions have usually outperformed pre-election forecasts based on survey data. The model is extended by considering the translation of votes into seats, models of the electorate as a whole and of the individual voter, and the causes of the off-year loss by the President's party.
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              The Effect of Aggregate Economic Variables on Congressional Elections

              This paper uses rational voting behavior as an organizing device to develop a framework within which to consider the effect of economic aggregates on voters. Unlike most previous studies, ours permits the voter to vote for candidates of either party or to abstain. A principal finding is that the effect of the main economic aggregates on the participation rate is much clearer than the effects on either party. Our results deny that an incumbent administration can affect the control of Congress by stimulating the economy. Voters appear to make judgments about inflation, unemployment and economic growth. We investigated on the basis of long-term, not short-term performance.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                American Political Science Review
                Am Polit Sci Rev
                JSTOR
                0003-0554
                1537-5943
                December 1975
                August 2014
                : 69
                : 04
                : 1240-1254
                Article
                10.2307/1955284
                © 1975

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