As well, the status of the national economy has long been considered decisive in shaping voter perceptions and behavior at the state level.
It is, however, at the local (= state) level that individuals have a much more direct and more intensely felt relationship with their government, even though in purely objective terms the vicissitudes of a state economy may not be directly under the control of public officials, including (or especially) governors. Niemi, Stanley, and Vogel give the example of the effect of unfounded federal mandates that states are obliged to follow (938). However, they also cite "the perception of autonomous state-level effects," i.e., the perception that governors have political and governance autonomy that is directly comparable to presidential authority. The content of the relationship between voters and their elected officials can be considered the motive force behind the analysis of state economic performance and tax status vis-à-vis voter behavior and election outcomes.
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