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Pandemics swing elections, but not as much as you think

February 19, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic changed almost everything about the 2020 American elections. The Biden campaign made much of the federal failure to combat the disease. President Trump politicised the response, appearing to run against practices like mask-wearing that are designed to slow infections (Milosh et al. 2020). Campaign techniques changed dramatically, particularly on the Democratic side, with door-knocking and in-person rallies falling off and outreach moving to video and virtual realms. 
Polls showed that most Americans disapproved of President Trump’s response to COVID-19 – a 17-point chasm by election day. A cross-country analysis of polling data showed that governments that failed to contain COVID-19 infections suffered falling approval rates (Herrera et al. 2020).
And yet,

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