Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Waterman


To what extent do unexpected, apolitical events affect governors’ popularity? Individuals’ attitudes towards government are often random, and executives at both the state-level and national-level are held accountable for events that they have little control over. In this study, I seek to understand how these unplanned events affect support for elected officials. Specifically, I examine the effect of the declaration of a State of Emergency on gubernatorial approval. I use an ordinary least squares (OLS) model and data from FEMA as well as the United States Officials Job Approval Ratings dataset to answer such questions. The results indicate that not only do natural and manmade disasters NOT have a negative effect on governors’ popularity, there is actually no correlation between the two variables at all. Instead, I find that relative to one another, major disaster declarations have a stronger negative effect on a governor’s approval ratings than emergency declarations. Though surprising, I suggest that these disasters simply do not affect enough individuals for a long enough time to have an impact on gubernatorial popularity.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)