Exploring the Relationship Between Housing Downturns and Partisan Elections: Neighborhood-Level Evidence from Maricopa County, Arizona

Deirdre Pfeiffer, Jake Wegmann, Alex Schafran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An understudied outcome of foreclosure crises is how their aftershocks affect partisan elections. Two hypotheses are that partisan shifts may occur in neighborhoods with concentrated foreclosures because of (1) declines in turnout among liberal leaning voters or (2) swells of anti-incumbency among all voters. This research explores these hypotheses in Maricopa County, Arizona, by using econometric modeling to uncover associations among neighborhood foreclosures, voter turnout, and changes in the Republican vote share between the 2006 and the 2010 Arizona gubernatorial and U.S. Senate elections. Our results show evidence of (1) anti-incumbent voting behavior and more liberal shifts among neighborhoods harder hit by foreclosures and (2) conservative shifts in neighborhoods experiencing African-American and Latinx population growth. These findings are suggestive of a link between neighborhood housing market distress and neighborhood partisan shifts, which in aggregate may shape state and national policymaking and future neighborhood conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUrban Affairs Review
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • foreclosures
  • housing
  • partisanship
  • voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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