Changes in Subjective Well-Being Predict Changes in U.S. Presidential, Senate, & House of Representatives Election Outcomes


  • Elizabeth W. Chan Orcid
  • Amanda Solomon Orcid
  • Felix Cheung Orcid


Free and fair elections enable the nation’s citizens to elect candidates whom they believe best represent their interests. When deciding who to vote for, individuals may consider a host of factors that ultimately improve their subjective well-being. Using data from the Gallup Sharecare Well-being Index (N = 3,208,924), we examined whether changes in subjective well-being predicted U.S. presidential, Senate, and House of Representatives election outcomes from 2010 to 2020. We tested this effect at county (n = 1,652–3,061), metropolitan statistical area (n = 191–363), state (n = 50), and district (n = 389–427) levels. Pre-registered multilevel models supported the notion that regions with growing discontent tended to have larger increases in non-incumbent vote shares. Establishing a link between subjective well-being and electoral outcomes has the potential to realign policymakers’ priorities with what truly matters to their constituents, thereby facilitating the promotion of population well-being.