Colleen Sharkey | April 17, 2020
If you identify as blue in a red state or red in a blue state, you might not be complying well with advice given by your governor that is meant to keep you healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Economics Kirsten Cornelson and her co-author Boriana Miloucheva of the University of Toronto found that in states with governors who won by close margins, compliance with stay-at-home orders and other health advice is lower among people with the opposite party affiliation.
The researchers surveyed about 1,000 individuals across 12 states using Amazon’s Mturk crowdsourcing platform, and resurveyed about 200 people they initially surveyed in 2019 about political polarization. Cornelson noted that they intentionally used data from states where elections were barely won by the leading party, so that they could compare the response among people in the same party, who lived in similar political environments.
The Mturk sample was roughly 60 percent Democratic and 40 percent Republican and skewed young. The researchers asked them questions about travel outside their homes in the past 48 hours and what those trips entailed (to deem if travel was essential or not) and what kind of measures they were taking to prevent the spread of the virus, such as increased handwashing.
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