Are Republican States Handling the Pandemic Better Than Democrat States?


In today’s second part of our multi-part series, we examine claims in the media have been made that Republican states are handling the pandemic worse than Democrats states. We look at the numbers.

Data & Methodology

We collected the monthly death per million numbers from each state’s COVID website and the CDC for every state from the beginning of the pandemic. We then collected the data for the governor of each state and the party of each governor. We took the average death per million of both Democrat and Republican states and plotted them on a time series.


First, we plotted every state to look for a pattern. You can see the graph is a fairly large mess but a pattern of red states having higher deaths per million does seem to appear around Winter of 2020 and Fall 2021. Blue states also look to have a much higher death per million at the beginning of the pandemic.

We looked at the dataset for each and calculated the mean and standard deviation and plotted those. We see that the highest death per million came early in the pandemic in blue states with red states not experiencing a spike until Fall of 2020. Blue states also saw a spike here however, red states experienced this spike slightly sooner and with larger numbers. The last notable observation is the very recent past, or Fall 2021, where we see a larger increase in red states compared to red states.  

Next, we averaged the monthly death per million to help normalize what we are seeing in the graphics to a single number. On a monthly basis Democrats saw 95 deaths per million on average over the pandemic with Republican states experiencing 106 deaths per million.

Finally, we decomposed this into seasons to see if there were any large variations between seasons. Here we can see the largest variance between red and blue states occurring very recently, in Fall of 2021. Next to Fall 2021 we saw that Fall 2020 and Winter 2020 are also had large variances.


Democrats have performed better throughout the pandemic, roughly about 10% better than Republican states. The largest variance coming from very recent history, or Fall 2021.