Democratic-led states tended to have stronger response to COVID-19, better health outcomes


States with Democratic leaders have tended to react more strongly to COVID-19 and have seen a lower rate of the virus spreading, according to new research by professors at Binghamton University, State University of New York .

Olga Shvetsova, professor of political science at Binghamton University, and her colleagues wanted to better understand how politics affects the outcome of COVID-19. The researchers used data on public health measures taken in the United States to build an index of the strength of the COVID policy response. They combined this index with the daily tally of new COVID cases, as well as political and other variables that they believed to be relevant to the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response of governments to it. Using this dataset, they assessed the effects of policies on the observed number of new infections and the difference between policies adopted in Republican-led and Democratic-led states.

This study links the overall strength of public health policies taken in response to the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in U.S. states to party governors’ affiliations and state-level outcomes. Understanding the relationship between public health policy and measures can better prepare American communities for what to expect from their governments in a future crisis and encourage advocacy for the delegation of public health decisions to medical professionals.

“Democratic-led state governments have, on average, taken more stringent measures than Republican-led state governments, and states with stricter measures have seen the virus spread much more slowly,” said Shvetsova.

The difference between policies made in Democratic-led states and those crafted in Republican-led states was about a 7-8% lower rate of the virus spreading.

According to the researchers, these findings reinforce findings from previous studies that public health policy enforcement was politicized for COVID-19, which affected health outcomes.

“The main lesson from this research is that better public health requires a less partisan approach to public health policy making,” Shvetsova said.

Other researchers and institutions participating in the study included: Andrei Zhirnov of the University of Exeter, Frank Giannelli of Rutgers University, Michael Catalano and Olivia Catalano.

The article, “Governor’s Party, Policies and Outcomes of COVID-19: Further Evidence of Effect,” was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Political variables carried more weight than health care in the government’s response to COVID-19

More information:
Olga Shvetsova et al, Governor’s Party, Policies, and COVID-19 Outcomes: New evidence of an effect, American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2021). DOI:

Provided by Binghamton University

Quote: Democratic-led states tended to have stronger response to COVID-19, improved health outcomes (2021, October 11) retrieved October 14, 2021 from 2021-10-democrat-led-states-tended-more-strong-response.html

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