Measuring the relative impact of issues and the economy in democratic elections
It is generally accepted that issues and economic outcomes influence elections. In this paper we analyze the relative importance of issues and the economy in Canadian elections. We estimate a model of the 1988 and 1993 Canadian elections in which we include voter evaluations of the parties on a variety of issues, and voter evaluations of the national economy and their personal finances. We demonstrate that it is possible to compare the effects of issues and the economy on election outcomes. And we put this in the context of the impact of issues and elections in several other democracies. We show that even in elections where other factors are dominant, we can still see the impact of economic voting. And we argue that given the tenuous connection between the actions of elected officials and macroeconomic outcomes, this suggests that voters may be giving elected officials undue leeway in their non-economic policy-making functions.