, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 37-51

Cross-pressured economic voting in America: The 1984 election

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Prior work on U.S. presidential elections has concluded consistently that voter evaluations of national economic conditions have had a greater impact on electoral outcomes than have perceptions of personal economic situations. Utilizing data from the 1984 National Election Study, we find confirmatory evidence for such a pattern. A more disaggreated examination of voters and their economic perceptions for that year, however, reveals some important refinements of earlier findings. Specifically, there is a sizable minority for whom personal economic conditions appear to matter more. Further, the role of noneconomic issue voting in distinguishing economic groups, a topic which has been largely ignored up to this point, is found to be quite pronounced — overriding, in several instances, the influence even of partisan and economic predispositions.