“New cases per capita were higher In redder states than In bluer states In June and July, even after controlling for a wide range of demographic, geographic and weather variables,” said Jed Kolko, an economist and Upshot contributor. “Deaths per capita, too, were higher In redder states than In bluer states In July.”
Still, it’s less clear how these changes affected perceptions on an individual level.
“Perhaps people who are skeptical about mask-wearing In the abstract might change their minds when the virus is the an immediate threat,” he said.
Matthew Gentzkow, a Stanford economist who studies partisan behavior, led an early study based on cellphone records that showed “that areas with more Republicans engage In less social distancing, controlling for other factors including public policies, population density, and local Covid cases and deaths.”
Two months later, he said, there are still differences, but not as large.
“They’re strongly significant In a statistical sense but modest In magnitude,” he said. “People do appear to be behaving differently by party, but it’s not as dramatic as all Republicans are going to the beach and having parties while Democrats stay home.”
It’s still not hard to find pandemic naysayers In conservative-leaning media. And several surveys show that on broader questions, a large difference remains. Even as the virus spreads, Republicans and Democrats differ In their concerns about the health impacts.