A Gubernatorial Helping Hand? How Governors Affect Presidential Elections
20 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2012
Date Written: November 22, 2012
It is commonly argued that a presidential candidate is helped in a state by having a governor of the same party. There is however little research to support this claim. To address this question, we use a regression discontinuity design. The idea is that in very close elections the party of the governor is essentially decided by a coin flip. Focusing on these close elections allows the estimation of the effect of the gubernatorial party. We show that a governor of the same party actually hurts a presidential candidate. Using a similar methodology, we also show that voters punish the president's party when voting for governor in midterm years. Having established these relationships, we explore the possible reasons. One possibility is a variation of the ideological balancing argument, whereby voters' choices for one office are conditional on which party holds office at a different level.
Keywords: Presidential Elections, Regression Discontinuity Design, Electoral Balancing
JEL Classification: H00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation