Meet the Researcher - Tia Braxton

Breakout Room: 29

TiaBraxton_HeadshotResearcher Name: Tia Braxton
Co-Presenter: Madison Demkowski, Thomas Bird, Nia Johnson
Title of Research: COVID-19 Pandemic Policies, Politics, and Economics 
Division Representing: Arts and Humanities
Institution: LaGrange College
Institution Location: Alabama
Home State: Alabama
District Number: 3
Advisor/Mentor: John Tures
Funding Source: N/A

Presentation Experience: 
As a student at LaGrange College I presented a project on Ex-Felon voting rights in front of the Georgia Study Senate Committee, at the Georgia Political Science Association, and I presented at the Georgia Capitol Poster event.

Significance of Research:       
When we conducted our research, we examined impact of the economics, politics, and policies of different states upon COVID-19 positivity rates and death rates. Our goal in our research was to measure if party affiliation, party, and economic freedom changed the effectiveness of the states COVID-19 response, and impacted its death rate.  Our binary logistic regression equation shows that Trump's share of the vote is positively related to a state's death rate.  That means that the more Trump voters a state has, the more likely a state is to have a higher death rate.  The relationship is only moderately statistically significant at the .10 level.  COVID-19 positivity rates are also positively associated with a state's death rate, statistically significant at the .05 level.  The other independent variables, travel restrictions, openness, economic freedom and which party controls the state governor's office, are not statistically significant at the .10 level.  This shows that it may be the behavior of the state residents in following the rules or not, more than the party in charge of the governor's office and state response, policies or preference for a pro-business climate, that explain why the pandemic was so deadly.

Uniqueness of Research: 
Few research articles in political science cover COVID-19, given the recent presence of this novel coronavirus. Fewer still have studied the comparative political, economic and policy differences among states affected.  And no such study has looked at the Fall of 2020 data; the only ones we could find have Spring 2020 data, which is clearly outdated, especially for positivity and death rates.