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Although partisan politics tend be set aside during crisis, the timing of gubernatorial actions in response to COVID-19 is telling about how partisanship is shaping the way elected officials are reacting to this pandemic. Using an event history analysis, the authors find that Democratic governors responded to the White House’s attempts to downplay the severity of the pandemic by declaring emergencies in order to draw citizen attention to and to prepare for a public health crisis. On the other hand, Republican governors resisted doing so until Trump declared a national emergency on March 13; however, Republican reactions were conditional on the president’s job approval in their states. While the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed governments into uncharted territory, state governors appear to be following patterns of vertical partisan competition that mirror those of more conventional policy areas in recent years.

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Fowler, L.; Kettler, J.J. and Witt, S.L. "Pandemics and Partisanship: Following Old Paths into Uncharted TerritoryArticle Title", American Politics Research, 49(1), pp. 3-16. Copyright © 2021, SAGE Publications. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.