So when tornadoes or others natural disasters strike, how do voters react, and what do those reactions tell us about voting? It’s plausible that voters might blame incumbents, even for something that is as obviously beyond their control as a tornado. There is, after all, evidence that voters punish incumbents for everything from shark attacks to losses by local sports teams. But on disasters specifically, the most recent evidence suggests more than just knee-jerk blame for whoever happens to be in office. Multiple studies indicate that when incumbents act in voters’ interests in the wake of a disaster, they are rewarded with increased support.
That’s from my most recent post over at Wonkblog, detailing political science research into the political impacts of natural disasters. For more, head here.