Winds of Change: Voter Blame and Storm Gudrun in the 2006 Swedish Parliamentary Election

Can a natural disaster shift long-standing party support for the long-term? Studies of political behavior indicate that, as elections approach, voters punish or credit governments based on their responses to severe weather phenomena. It may still be considered an open question, however, if poor crisis response could trigger more durable shifts in long-standing party support. I provide empirical evidence suggesting that it could. I exploit a crucial case for the study of change in party support, Storm Gudrun (Erwin), to examine long lasting punishment effects over crisis response. The estimated effect is of a magnitude that equals the largest block-transfer of voters in Swedish history and can be seen over three parliamentary elections (2006, 2010 and 2014).