Population Well-Being and Electoral Shifts

Authors: Jeph Herrin, Dan Witters, Brita Roy, Carley Riley, Diana Liu, Harlan M. Krumholz

Abstract: Population wellbeing, an aggregate measure of positive mental, physical, and emotional health, has previously been used as a marker of community thriving. We examined whether several community measures of well-being, and their change since 2012, could be used to understand electoral changes that led to the outcome of the 2016 United States presidential election. We found that areas of the US which had the largest shifts away from the incumbent party had both lower wellbeing and greater drops in wellbeing when compared with areas that did not shift. In comparison, changes in income were not related to voting shifts. Wellbeing may be more useful in predicting and understanding electoral outcomes than some more conventional voting determinants.

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