In this article we propose and test an attributional model of economic voting. Exploiting an innovative responsibility instrument to analyze the 2000 U.S. presidential election, we find that the incumbent party's candidate did benefit from the belief that economic conditions had improved, but only among voters who attributed responsibility for that improvement to the president. Moreover, we find that by explicitly modeling the effects of responsibility attributions instead of presuming a homogeneous and automatic sanctioning process, the attributional model outperforms the classical reward-punishment model in explaining presidential vote choice. Our results provide new insights into the outcome of the 2000 presidential election and demonstrate the relative importance of issues and the economy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science