Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Red, Blue, and Swing States

Alex Brill and Grant Seiter | AEIdeas

From both a public health and economic perspective, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on our country. More than 210,000 people have died, more than 435,000 individuals have been hospitalized, and more than 10 million jobs have been lost nationally. The US economy was 10 percent smaller in June than it was last December and is not projected to fully recover until some point in 2021 at the earliest.

Despite these shocking numbers, there is substantial variation in people’s understanding of the significance of the pandemic. A recent Gallup Panel observed a major partisan gap in attitudes and behaviors related to COVID-19. Democrats are much more likely to approach COVID-19 with caution. Republicans tend to be less worried about getting the coronavirus and are more ready to return to normal activities.

One possible explanation for this variation is the difference in the severity of the pandemic and recession at the local level. Here, we review labor market data and COVID-19 data at the state level from February through September and find significant variation depending on states’ political leaning.

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