Governors can limit COVID-19 spread through persuasion and mandates, our research shows. Republicans who broke with prevailing GOP views had most impact.
Does America’s extreme polarization mean it will be impossible for the incoming Biden administration to persuade Republican-leaning citizens and Republican leaders to embrace stronger COVID-19 control measures?
Our research on the effects of governors’ words and actions during the first wave of COVID-19 provides a hopeful answer. In response to stay-at-home recommendations and orders earlier this year, mobility declined in both Democratic- and Republican-leaning counties. And Republican governors in particular were especially persuasive when it came to changing the behavior of their constituents.