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Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, and George W. :Impact of Hurricanes on 2004 National Election: The Campaign Effect?

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Abstract:

The relationship between natural disasters and democratic government remains largely unexplored. In their study on the impact of natural disasters on voting behavior, Achen and Bartels (2004) find that voters systematically blame the government for acts of God. Retrospective voting is blind. Whenever voters can justify blaming the government, they do. This paper examines the impact of the 2004 hurricanes in Florida on George W. Bush’s percentage of the 2-party vote in Florida’s 67 counties. Expected to become a pivotal state in the 2004 elections, the 4 hurricanes that struck Florida back-to-back months prior to the election provide an interesting venue from which to explore voting behavior. Incumbent visits, and large amounts of Federal aid expediently funneled into Florida gave voters a favorable impression of the Federal government response to the disasters. I test two hypotheses: 1.) Hard-hit counties were more likely to vote against the incumbent in 2004; 2.) The campaign had a positive impact on the incumbent’s vote share. My findings indicate that the hurricanes were negatively associated with electoral support for the incumbent, but the disasters were statistically insignificant. Federal aid and candidate visits had no impact on the national election. My conclusion suggests that the negative correlation between the hurricanes and the incumbent’s vote share is an indication that retrospective voting may indeed be blind.

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hurrican (126), 2004 (97), florida (90), vote (61), counti (56), bush (52), visit (50), impact (46), incumb (41), voter (39), damag (37), storm (33), elect (33), fema (31), nation (30), state (29), wind (29), govern (28), aid (28), disast (26), respons (25),

Author's Keywords:

natural disasters, incumbency, hurricane, retrospective voting, campaigns, elections
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Name: Midwest Political Science Association
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http://www.indiana.edu/~mpsa/


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p198710_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Perez, Vanessa. "Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, and George W. :Impact of Hurricanes on 2004 National Election: The Campaign Effect?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL, Apr 12, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p198710_index.html>

APA Citation:

Perez, V. , 2007-04-12 "Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, and George W. :Impact of Hurricanes on 2004 National Election: The Campaign Effect?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL Online <PDF>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p198710_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The relationship between natural disasters and democratic government remains largely unexplored. In their study on the impact of natural disasters on voting behavior, Achen and Bartels (2004) find that voters systematically blame the government for acts of God. Retrospective voting is blind. Whenever voters can justify blaming the government, they do. This paper examines the impact of the 2004 hurricanes in Florida on George W. Bush’s percentage of the 2-party vote in Florida’s 67 counties. Expected to become a pivotal state in the 2004 elections, the 4 hurricanes that struck Florida back-to-back months prior to the election provide an interesting venue from which to explore voting behavior. Incumbent visits, and large amounts of Federal aid expediently funneled into Florida gave voters a favorable impression of the Federal government response to the disasters. I test two hypotheses: 1.) Hard-hit counties were more likely to vote against the incumbent in 2004; 2.) The campaign had a positive impact on the incumbent’s vote share. My findings indicate that the hurricanes were negatively associated with electoral support for the incumbent, but the disasters were statistically insignificant. Federal aid and candidate visits had no impact on the national election. My conclusion suggests that the negative correlation between the hurricanes and the incumbent’s vote share is an indication that retrospective voting may indeed be blind.

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Associated Document Available Midwest Political Science Association

Document Type: PDF
Page count: 26
Word count: 5697
Text sample:
Charley Frances Ivan Jeanne and George W.: Impact of Hurricanes on the 2004 National Election—The Campaign Effect?* Vanessa Perez Columbia University Abstract The relationship between natural disasters and democratic government remains largely unexplored. In their study on the impact of natural disasters on voting behavior Achen and Bartels (2004) find that voters systematically blame the government for acts of God. Retrospective voting is blind. Whenever voters can justify blaming the government they do. This paper examines the impact of
Table 4 The Effect of Kerry Visits on the 2004 Bush Vote in Florida Results from ordinary least squares regression analysis of 2004 percentage of two-party vote by Florida county Coefficient Standard Error t-ratio Kerry Visits -1648.7 1824.3 -0.9 Bush 2000 1.0899 0.0415 26.27 Intercept -0.0107 Standard Error of Regression 0.0241 Adjusted R-squared 0.9236 N 67 26


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