Earlier versions of this manuscript circulated with the subtitle “results from a natural experiment.” We thank the four anonymous reviewers, the editor, Bob Erickson, Michael Lewis-Beck, Neil Malhotra, Chris Wlezien, and seminar participants at the 2007 Lake Arrowhead CCES conference for helpful comments and advice. Conor Dowling and David Doherty provided superb research assistance.
Partisanship, Political Control, and Economic Assessments
Article first published online: 28 DEC 2009
©2010, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 54, Issue 1, pages 153–173, January 2010
How to Cite
Gerber, A. S. and Huber, G. A. (2010), Partisanship, Political Control, and Economic Assessments. American Journal of Political Science, 54: 153–173. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00424.x
- Issue published online: 28 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 28 DEC 2009
Previous research shows that partisans rate the economy more favorably when their party holds power. There are several explanations for this association, including use of different evaluative criteria, selective perception, selective exposure to information, correlations between economic experiences and partisanship, and partisan bias in survey responses. We use a panel survey around the November 2006 election to measure changes in economic expectations and behavioral intentions after an unanticipated shift in political power. Using this design, we can observe whether the association between partisanship and economic assessments holds when some leading mechanisms thought to bring it about are excluded. We find that there are large and statistically significant partisan differences in how economic assessments and behavioral intentions are revised immediately following the Democratic takeover of Congress. We conclude that this pattern of partisan response suggests partisan differences in perceptions of the economic competence of the parties, rather than alternative mechanisms.