Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Inflation and Voting Behavior

Publication Date



Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of


Political Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Nathan Griffith

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Why do periods of high inflation change what happens in the voting booth? As inflation becomes an ever more controversial and prevalent political topic in present day society, there is huge potential for this to become an important factor in influencing election results, and pushing people in political directions that differ from their norm. Previous research has proposed many theories as to why liberal voters shift to the political right under periods where the inflation rates are high, and scholars have found this ranges from government overstep to the likes of political instability, stoicism, to ideas of reactionary voting and low risk economies. The thesis being proposed is that the predominant cause for a change in voting behavior during periods of high inflation is due to reactionary voting based on financial instability. If the results correlate with the thesis, it is likely that they will show that financial instability during high inflation is the most significant driving factor in changing voting behavior. This study used data and cases from the U.S Census Bureau, American National Election Studies, and the Pew Research Center to gauge partisan attitudes towards inflation during times when rates were at a particular high, then correlated those findings with changes in voting behavior during subsequent elections. The results would affect the current findings surrounding voting behavior as they would give a more in-depth explanation for what affects voters and what drives them to vote differently, thus affecting election campaign strategy and highlighting the importance of economic stability during the election cycle.

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