Larry Bartels has an oft-cited that Democratic Presidents are better for the economy. Andrew Gelman has a nice presentation of the skeptical take of Jim Campbell. For instance:
Jim Campbell recently wrote an article, to appear this week in The Forum (the link should become active once the issue is officially published) claiming that Bartels is all wrong–or, more precisely, that Bartels’s finding of systematic differences in performance between Democratic and Republican presidents is not robust and goes away when you control the economic performance leading in to a president’s term.
Previous estimates did not properly take into account the lagged effects of the economy. Once lagged economic effects are taken into account, party differences in economic performance are shown to be the effects of economic conditions inherited from the previous president and not the consequence of real policy differences. Specifically, the economy was in recession when Republican presidents became responsible for the economy in each of the four post-1948 transitions from Democratic to Republican presidents. This was not the case for the transitions from Republicans to Democrats. When economic conditions leading into a year are taken into account, there are no presidential party differences with respect to growth, unemployment, or income inequality.
File under “Was never convincing in the first place.” Read the comments to the post also.