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The Poll Results Hypothesis

  • Richard Cebula


  • Daniel Hulse
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    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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    Article provided by International Atlantic Economic Society in its journal Atlantic Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 33-41

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:35:y:2007:i:1:p:33-41
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    1. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753.
    2. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
    3. Greene, Kenneth V & Nikolaev, Oleg, 1999. " Voter Participation and the Redistributive State," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(1-2), pages 213-26, January.
    4. Lapp, Miriam, 1999. " Incorporating Groups into Rational Choice Explanations of Turnout: An Empirical Test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(1-2), pages 171-85, January.
    5. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000232,
    6. Ashenfelter, Orley C & Kelley, Stanley, Jr, 1975. "Determinants of Participation in Presidential Elections," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 695-733, December.
    7. Richard Cebula, 2004. "Expressiveness and voting: Alternative evidence," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 32(3), pages 216-221, September.
    8. Kafoglis, Milton & Cebula, Richard, 1980. "The Buchanan-Tullock Model: Some Extensions," MPRA Paper 51216, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Tullock, Gordon, 1971. "Public Decisions as Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(4), pages 913-18, July-Aug..
    10. Richard Cebula, 2003. "Tax evasion as ade facto vote of disapproval of PAC contributions," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 31(4), pages 338-347, December.
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