The Poll Results Hypothesis
This empirical study seeks to broaden the interpretation of the rational voter model so as to reflect the potential impact of the results of polls of likely voters’ Presidential candidate preferences on the expected benefits of voting and hence on the voter participation rate. This study introduces the poll results hypothesis: in any given state, given the existence of the Electoral College, the greater the lead of a principal Presidential candidate over his/her closest rival as revealed in polls of likely voters, the lower, for at least some portion of prospective voters, the expected gross benefits of voting in that state and hence the lower the aggregate voter participation rate in that state. In a cross-section study of the 50 states during the 2004 general election, it is found, after allowing for a variety of other factors, that the greater the lead (as revealed in polls of likely voters) of either of the principal Presidential candidates over the other in any given state, the lower the voter turnout rate in that state. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2007
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Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
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