As Michael Tesler wrote here at TMC, political scientists have long found that national economic conditions sway voters’ likelihood of voting for the incumbent president. But effects go beyond that: Voters reward or blame the president’s party in other elections as well.Here’s how a pandemic-driven recession could affect elections up and down the ballot this November.How we did our researchUsing election returns over the past five decades and economic data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, we compared election-year economic performance and votes for presidents, governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives.In the graphs below, you can see how growth or loss in average wages per worker and increase or decrease in the incumbent president’s party’s share of the vote are correlated during presidential election years, for all four types of elections. When wages increase, the president’s party tends to do better at all four levels. On average, over the past 45 years, a 1 percent change in wages is associated with about a 1-percentage-point change in votes for the incumbent president’s party.But how can you separate the influence of the economy from everything else?Of course, many factors affect national elections. For instance, Democratic candidates did poorly in


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