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The Relationship Between Voters and Taxes

Governors are the most visible embodiment of governance in their states, and whether the issue is the health of the economy on one hand or tax initiatives on the other, a governor is likely to be associated with how the issue is experienced by voters. However, after reviewing literature on voting behavior related to economic performance Niemi, Stanley, and Vogel take the view that tax initiatives exert more force in popular imagination, or on "pocketbook economics," hence on voter behavior (NSV 944). They describe structuring a statistical model that includes such variables as the state of the local and national economies and whether and/or how many state taxes were raised, plus the characteristics of voters (e.g., socioeconomic status, social demographics) and candidates.

The study results show a significant correlation between an increased tax burden and a failure to reelect a governor associated with the increase. In gubernatorial races where reelection was not an option, the incumbent-party candidate in an open race was found to be less likely to be elected than the out-party candidate. Indeed, in the 1986 gubernatorial races, economics as experienced at the practical, voter-household level, appears to have exerted a greater influence than ideology per se.

Another view of the relevance of voter behavior and the tax burden to the career of state governors is offered by Kone and Winters. Using data from gubernatorial elections between 1957 and 1985, they find not a strong but rather a weak statistical correlation between taxation and what they call a "taxpayer retribution hypothesis" (KW 22). There is, however, one apparent exception to the weak correlation between taxes and governors' races: sales taxes, for which the evidence is that governors may be punished at the polls.

By no means do Kone and Winters argue that tax-paying voters do not hold an incumbent accountable for imposing a tax burden on them. Quite the reverse, sinc...

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The Relationship Between Voters and Taxes. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:28, August 19, 2017, from
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