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The “Timeline” method of studying electoral dynamics

The “Timeline” method of studying electoral dynamics
The “Timeline” method of studying electoral dynamics
To study the evolution of electoral preferences, Erikson and Wlezien (2012) propose assessing the correspondence between pre-election polls and the vote in a set of elections. That is, they treat poll data not as a set of time series but as a series of cross-sections—across elections—for each day of the election cycle. This “timeline” method does not provide complete information, but does reveal general patterns of electoral dynamics, and has been applied to elections in numerous countries. The application of the method involves a number of decisions that have not been explicitly addressed in previous research, however. There are three primary issues: (1) how best to assess the evolution of preferences; (2) how to deal with missing data; and (3) the consequences of sampling error. This paper considers each of these issues and provides answers. In the end, the analyses suggest that simpler approaches are better. It also may be that a more general strategy is possible, in which scholars could explicitly model the variation in poll-vote error across countries, elections, parties and time. We consider that direction for future research in the concluding section.
0261-3794
45-56
Wlezien, Christopher
e5c172ce-90fc-4bb3-989f-f11e4acb7e53
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Erikson, Robert
887d4f65-0ee6-48ab-953c-cdb3875011a9
Wlezien, Christopher
e5c172ce-90fc-4bb3-989f-f11e4acb7e53
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Erikson, Robert
887d4f65-0ee6-48ab-953c-cdb3875011a9

Wlezien, Christopher, Jennings, William and Erikson, Robert (2017) The “Timeline” method of studying electoral dynamics. Electoral Studies, 48, 45-56. (doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2017.03.003).

Record type: Article

Abstract

To study the evolution of electoral preferences, Erikson and Wlezien (2012) propose assessing the correspondence between pre-election polls and the vote in a set of elections. That is, they treat poll data not as a set of time series but as a series of cross-sections—across elections—for each day of the election cycle. This “timeline” method does not provide complete information, but does reveal general patterns of electoral dynamics, and has been applied to elections in numerous countries. The application of the method involves a number of decisions that have not been explicitly addressed in previous research, however. There are three primary issues: (1) how best to assess the evolution of preferences; (2) how to deal with missing data; and (3) the consequences of sampling error. This paper considers each of these issues and provides answers. In the end, the analyses suggest that simpler approaches are better. It also may be that a more general strategy is possible, in which scholars could explicitly model the variation in poll-vote error across countries, elections, parties and time. We consider that direction for future research in the concluding section.

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ES_TimelineMethod - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 27 March 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 April 2017
Published date: August 2017
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 407581
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/407581
ISSN: 0261-3794
PURE UUID: 208499d9-4f46-4987-bb58-1f1858364f03
ORCID for William Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

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Date deposited: 16 Apr 2017 16:57
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 04:06

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Contributors

Author: Christopher Wlezien
Author: Robert Erikson

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