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Exit Polls and Voter Turnout

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  • Thomas Jensen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Asger Lau Andersen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We set up a model of elections or referendums with two alternatives to study how voter turnout and election outcomes are affected by the publication of exit polls on election day. We find that the introduction of an exit poll influences the incentive to vote both before and after the poll is published, but the signs of the effects are generally ambiguous. The fact that exit polls influence the incentive to vote before they are even published is sometimes overlooked in the debate on their desirability. We show that this can lead to premature conclusions about the impact of exit polls on election outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 2010-10.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:10-10

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Keywords: elections; exit polls; voter turnout;

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  1. Jacob Goeree & Jens Großer, 2007. "Welfare Reducing Polls," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 51-68, April.
  2. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro C. Magalhães, 2008. "Referendum Design, Quorum Rules and Turnout," NIPE Working Papers 05/2008, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  3. Taylor, Curtis & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2005. "Public Information and Electoral Bias," Working Papers 05-11, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  4. Battaglini, Marco, 2005. "Sequential voting with abstention," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 445-463, May.
  5. Esteban Klor & Eyal Winter, 2007. "The welfare effects of public opinion polls," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 379-394, February.
  6. Jens Großer & Arthur Schram, 2007. "Public Opinion Polls, Voter Turnout, and Welfare: An Experimental Study," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 014, University of Siena.
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