Political Influences of Presidential Disaster Declarations
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Mother nature waits for no one to be prepared and does not stop and turn around when it comes to populated areas. The damage that can happen from natural occurring weather events can be minimal or severe depending on the type of event. Weather happens everywhere on this planet and everyone has the potential to be harmed by extreme weather events. The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of political factors on presidential disaster declarations. The scholarly literature suggests three political factors which can influence a president to issue a disaster declaration (Presidential Disaster Declarations). The three political factors are: swing states, presidential re-election years, and political alignments (same party governors as the president). Existing data was compiled from the FEMA Disaster Declaration database, the Spatial Hazard Events and Losses Database for the United States database, the American Presidency Project, Thoughtco, The National Governors Association, and the U.S. Atlas Election database. The methodology used to determine if any of the three political factors had an impact on disaster declarations was analysis of the existing data using a logistic regression model. The results showed that swing state status and presidential re-election years had no impact on presidential disaster declarations and political alignments (governor’s political party) had a positive relationship with presidential disaster declarations. Political alliances has a statistically significant advantage to states who have a governor of the same party as the president in receiving disaster declarations and funds from the federal government by 18 percent. But actual need should play a larger role when it comes to natural disasters.