Disasters as Political Challenges <i>and</i> Opportunities

David K. Twigg

in The Politics of Disaster

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041889
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043890 | DOI:
Disasters as Political Challenges and Opportunities

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In conclusion, incumbents' reelection efforts appear not to have been negatively impacted by Hurricane Andrew. Apparent effects are positive, if minimal. Time and distance reduced the hurricane's effects, but voters in the most severely impacted areas remembered their benefactors even two years later in statewide races. Anecdotal evidence indicates that strong disaster responses from elected officials can improve an incumbent's reelection chances while weak responses can predict failure. Future studies should focus on the interaction of five factors: event characteristics; resources; constituency service and surrogate campaigning; regular campaigning; and incumbent acuity to assess whether the Hurricane Andrew impacts are typical or are outliers.

Keywords: campaigns; constituency service; disaster; elections; hurricane; Hurricane Andrew; incumbency; leadership

Chapter.  5457 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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