Research ArticleCORONAVIRUS

Fatalities from COVID-19 are reducing Americans’ support for Republicans at every level of federal office

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Science Advances  30 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 44, eabd8564
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd8564


Between early March and 1 August 2020, COVID-19 took the lives of more than 150,000 Americans. Here, we examine the political consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic using granular data on COVID-19 fatalities and the attitudes of the American public. We find that COVID-19 has led to substantial damage for President Trump and other Republican candidates. States and local areas with higher levels of COVID-19 fatalities are less likely to support President Trump and Republican candidates for House and Senate. Our results show that President Trump and other Republican candidates would benefit electorally from a reduction in COVID-19 fatalities. This implies that a greater emphasis on social distancing, masks, and other mitigation strategies would benefit the president and his allies.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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