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The disastrous business of presidential campaigns: The effect of disaster declarations on presidential elections in FEMA Region 3

Ken Balbuena, MPA, Tonya E. Thornton, PhD, MPPA, Patrick Baxter, MIDP, Walter English, III, MS, Wendy Chen, PhD

Abstract


The issuance of disaster declarations has become a politicized matter. Prior research has demonstrated that presidents are more generous in awarding disaster relief in federal election years, and that there is a prevalence to award governors from the opposing political party. Additionally, voters tend to reward presidents seeking re-election to a greater degree for disaster response assistance rather than funding preparedness. The original research for this paper explores the impact of natural disasters on re-election rates and analyzes voter trends during presidential election years in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 3 states for congruence with existing literature covering a national scope. Evaluations of the behaviors and (re)election margins of Presidents Bush and Obama are explored, and implications for President Trump’s re-election effort are based on quantitative data and qualitative comparisons.


Keywords


disaster, declaration, electorate, COVID-19

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.0666

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