Our interest in the effect of aggregate economic variables on election results began in 1970 following a conversation with an administration official that we have reported elsewhere. We doubted both the implicit theory of voting behavior and the ability of the administration to achieve rates of inflation and unemployment even close to the ranges mentioned. We take this opportunity to note that the unemployment rate was higher and the inflation rate substantially higher than the adviser's estimate, but President Nixon was reelected.
At the time, the principal econometric evidence of the effects of aggregate economic variables was a study by Kramer. Kramer found evidence of an effect of real income, but despite (or perhaps because of) the flaws in his procedure, he found no evidence of an effect of inflation or unemployment. Furthermore, then and now, most of the reported evidence pertains to congressional not presidential elections and to votes for congressmen, not seats in the Congress.