Which President Has Managed the Pandemic Better?
With two presidents each having a large amount of time during the pandemic we thought we’d analyze the overall performance of each and see if there were any large variations. We fully expected to see some advantage as the vaccine was in its 3rd week of circulation when Biden took office.
Data & Methodology
We used data reported from each of the 50 states’ sites and the CDC. We collected the total cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. We then categorized each date into a Trump category or Biden category based on the date. For dates from January 21st, 2020 through January 20th, 2021 (President Biden’s Inauguration Date) to Trump. For dates between January 20th, 2021 through October 4th, 2021 we categorized as President Biden’s days. We then summed all of each president’s respective dates for the total. This created our first set of data or raw set. This however is an unfair comparison as President Biden has only presided over 257 days of the pandemic to Trump’s 365. To make a fair comparison we weighted the total numbers by the number of days each presided over the pandemic. This gave us our final numbers.
We found that with cases Trump performed better by a margin of 8%. Considering he was president when the virus was first spreading and we had inadequate testing we believe that each president has actually performed roughly equal here.
Hospitalizations. We found that President Biden has a very large percentage of hospitalizations relative to Trump. 32% more to be exact. With hospitalizations Trump clearly outperformed Biden.
Deaths. We found that Trump experienced 20% more deaths than Biden.
The surprise in this analysis was that we did not see a drastic decrease in cases or hospitalizations with the introduction of the vaccine under Biden. We did see an expected performance increase in deaths, roughly 20%. We also suspected that the vaccine may have reduced deaths to hospitalizations. To test this, we added hospitalizations and deaths for each to offer a clearer picture of performance. When we did this, we still found that Biden underperformed. The 20% difference in deaths was not enough to offset the 36% difference in hospitalizations under Biden.
Numerically, Trump performed better, however, he underperformed in deaths. Considering this we can not state he outperformed Biden. We consider the performance roughly equal between the two.