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Election polling errors across time and space

Election polling errors across time and space
Election polling errors across time and space
Are election polling misses becoming more prevalent? Are they more likely in some contexts than others? In this article we undertake an over-time and cross-national assessment of prediction errors in pre-election polls. Our analysis draws on more than 30,000 national polls from 351 general elections in 45 countries over the period between 1942 and 2017. We proceed in the following way. First, building on previous studies, we demonstrate how errors in national polls evolve in a structured way over the election timeline. Second, we examine errors in polls in the final week of the election campaign to examine performance across election years. Third, we undertake a pooled analysis of polling errors – controlling for a number of institutional and party features – that enables us to test whether poll errors have increased or decreased over time. We find that, contrary to conventional wisdom, recent performance of polls has not been outside the ordinary. The performance of polls does vary across political contexts, however, and in understandable ways.
2397-3374
276-283
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Wlezien, Christopher
e5c172ce-90fc-4bb3-989f-f11e4acb7e53
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Wlezien, Christopher
e5c172ce-90fc-4bb3-989f-f11e4acb7e53

Jennings, William and Wlezien, Christopher (2018) Election polling errors across time and space. Nature Human Behaviour, 2 (4), 276-283. (doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0315-6).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Are election polling misses becoming more prevalent? Are they more likely in some contexts than others? In this article we undertake an over-time and cross-national assessment of prediction errors in pre-election polls. Our analysis draws on more than 30,000 national polls from 351 general elections in 45 countries over the period between 1942 and 2017. We proceed in the following way. First, building on previous studies, we demonstrate how errors in national polls evolve in a structured way over the election timeline. Second, we examine errors in polls in the final week of the election campaign to examine performance across election years. Third, we undertake a pooled analysis of polling errors – controlling for a number of institutional and party features – that enables us to test whether poll errors have increased or decreased over time. We find that, contrary to conventional wisdom, recent performance of polls has not been outside the ordinary. The performance of polls does vary across political contexts, however, and in understandable ways.

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Accepted/In Press date: 30 January 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 March 2018
Published date: April 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421260
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421260
ISSN: 2397-3374
PURE UUID: 2b63110d-2e5c-41c1-833e-b9ff6ff9aa27
ORCID for William Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

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Date deposited: 29 May 2018 16:31
Last modified: 09 Nov 2022 05:03

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Author: Christopher Wlezien

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