Public preferences for Zika policy and responsibility in the absence of partisan cues

Jennifer M. Connolly, Casey Klofstad, Joseph Uscinski, Jonathan West

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In the absence of partisan ownership of an issue, what factors shape public preferences for federal, state and local policy action? The Zika virus provides a unique context in which to examine this question, as it is a new threat to public health in the United States and lacks clear partisan ownership. We examine (1) which Zika policies do citizens support, (2) at which level(s) of government and (3) what factors explain citizen assignment of policy responsibility to different levels of government? Using nationally representative survey data, we find that the three most popular policy responses to Zika are travel warnings, research funding and public education, with the federal government being the preferred policy actor. In the absence of clear partisan issue ownership, we find that Republicans are significantly more likely to prefer state policy action, while partisanship has no impact on public preferences for federal or local policy action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-427
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Federalism
  • Policy assignment
  • Public opinion
  • Zika

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Public preferences for Zika policy and responsibility in the absence of partisan cues'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this