Measuring the Relative Impact of Issues and the Economy in Democratic Elections
Alvarez, R. Michael
Willette, Jennifer R.
It is generally accepted that issues and economic outcomes influence
elections. In this paper we analyze the relative importance of issues
and the economy in Canadian elections. We estimate a model of the
1988 and 1993 Canadian elections in which we include voter evaluations
of the parties on a variety of issues, and voter evaluations of the
national economy and their personal finances. We demonstrate that
it is possible to compare the effects of issues and the econocy on election outcomes. And we put this in the context of the impact of issues and elections in several other democracies. We show that even in
elections where other factors are dominant, we can still see the
impact of economic voting. And we argue that given the tenuous
connection between the actions of elected officials and macroeconomic
outcomes, this suggests that voters may be giving elected officials
undue leeway in their non-economic policy-making functions.
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