When Democrats hold the presidency, unemployment declines more than when the GOP occupies the Oval Office. And when Republican presidents are at the helm, a recent study concludes, stock-markets make larger gains. Both parties, it seems, tailor their economic policies to reward their core supporters. Partisan politics, the study suggests, help fuel America's increasing economic inequality.
The evidence of a growing partisan divide in the U.S. has been hard to ignore during recent elections. So has the reality of the economic disparity between the nation’s richest and poorest citizens. The increasing polarization has even led to calls for greater equality of income and wealth from the highest political offices. But the fact remains that politicians seek to appease their political bases first and foremost, and that can lead to a cycle of macroeconomic policies that disproportionally help, or hurt, only one portion of the population during a party's presidential tenure.
The economic concerns of voters in each party, at least in recent years, have been fairly different. A 2009 Gallup poll shows that during the recession, Republicans were most focused on the growing deficit and the possibility of increasing taxes while Democrats listed unemployment and the lack of health insurance as their primary economic concerns. This differentiation was echoed in a 2014 Pew survey, which showed that Republican voters were, again, most concerned with the budget deficit while Democrats said their primary concern was economic inequality.