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Back to Paper Details
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The Effect of the Government’s Response to COVID-19 on Voting Behavior in the 2020 South Korean Legislative Election

Asia
Quantitative
Electoral Behaviour
Public Opinion
Survey Research
Voting Behaviour
Heejun Tae
Seoul National University
Do Won Kim
Seoul National University
Heejun Tae
Seoul National University

Abstract

The 2020 South Korean legislative election, held amid the outbreak of COVID-19, was seen as a mid-term evaluation of the government's performance. Among the central issues in this election was whether voters would punish or reward the incumbent regarding the ongoing pandemic. As the South Korean government's response to the virus stood out, the government's approval rate increased. However, a significant cleavage along the partisan line exists. The opposing party and its supporters blamed the government for mishandling the crisis. Did the electorate's evaluations of how the government coped with the virus differ among partisans? How did these evaluations affect the voters' choice of candidate or party in the legislative election? To answer these questions, we use panel data consisting of six waves, of which the first three waves were collected before and the last three waves after the outbreak of the virus. This paper will show whether the government's handling of COVID-19 significantly impacted voters' vote intentions. Furthermore, we will investigate whether the blame attribution occurs along the partisan cleavage. Overall, this paper will expand our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on voting behavior and how party identification affects the relationship between the crisis and political attitudes.