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The American Voter and the Economy, 2008

  • Robert S. Erikson (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2009

Why did Obama defeat McCain in 2008? As with any national election outcome, the immediate culprit that comes to mind is economic performance. When the U.S. is prosperous, the electorate votes the incumbent presidential party back into office. When the U.S. economy sours, the incumbent (or incumbent party) loses. In 2008, the application of this rule led to a correct prediction once again. Economy up, Republicans out. It is difficult to challenge this conventional wisdom that the economy contributed to the transfer of the White House from the Republicans to Democrat Obama.

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Angus Campbell . 1964. “Voters and Elections, Past and Present. Journal of Politics 26 (August): 745–57.

Robert S. Erikson 1989. “Economic Conditions and the Presidential Vote.” American Political Science Review 83: 568–73.

Michael Lewis-Beck , William Jacoby , Helmut Norpoth , and Herbert Weisberg . 2008. The American Voter Revisited. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Michael S. Lewis-Beck , and Mary Stegmaier . 2000. “Economic Determinants of Electoral Outcomes.” Annual Review of Political Science 3: 183219.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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