Prof. Christopher Adolph in UW News, "Republican-led states lifted pandemic restrictions earlier, study finds"

A new study has documented the political leanings of states with differing policies of lifting COVID restrictions.

The study, led by Political Science Prof. Christopher Adolph, considered five policies states eased and when. The analysis took into account factors such as infection rates, deaths, and political party of the govenors', and Trump share of votes from the state.

"Public health indicators did play a role, the researchers point out, as states with better trends in epidemiological indicators could be expected to ease restrictions two weeks (an average of 14.1 days) ahead of states where trends in case counts and deaths were worsening or improving more slowly. But the influence of COVID-19 trajectories was slightly less than that of the governor’s political party and the share of Trump voters. All else equal, states with a Republican governor and a majority of Trump voters could be expected to begin easing restrictions just over two weeks (an average of 14.5 days) ahead of Democratic-led states.

“'Since March 2020, state-level decisions on the response to COVID-19 have been influenced by politics as much as — and sometimes more than — public health data and evidence on evolving pandemic needs. In the U.S., this has happened for social distancing measuresmask policies, vaccination and testing requirements, travel restrictions — everything,' said Bree Bang-Jensen, a study co-author and doctoral candidate in political science at the UW."

In addition to Adolph, Bree Bang-Jensen, and Nancy Fullman, co-authors were John Wilkerson, professor and chair of political science at the UW; Kenya AmanoRachel CastellanoMegan Erickson and Grace Reinke, all doctoral students in political science at the UW; and Beatrice Magistro, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto who completed this work while a doctoral student in political science at the UW.

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