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Pre-Election Polling and the Rational Voter: Evidence from State Panel Data (1986–1998)

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  • Mitch Kunce

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Abstract

This study examines the role of pre-election perceptions of race closeness, by way of newspaper polls, in motivating citizens to vote on a specific contest while in the voting booth. Results from an error components model (random effects), employing state panel data of concurrent gubernatorial and Senate elections for the period 1986 to 1998, fail to bolster the rational voter hypothesis that perceived closeness matters. The extent to which pre-election perception matters is shown to depend directly on how one measures the likelihood of a close contest. In contrast, few long-standing variables, inherent to the voting literature, have any impact on “within-booth” voting behavior. The majority of within-booth abstention is left unexplained; furthering the notion of Matsusaka and Palda (1999) that the act of voting, indeed, may be random. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Suggested Citation

  • Mitch Kunce, 2001. "Pre-Election Polling and the Rational Voter: Evidence from State Panel Data (1986–1998)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(1), pages 21-34, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:107:y:2001:i:1:p:21-34
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1010351731929
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    2. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. "Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-446, March.
    3. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
    4. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-424, June.
    5. Peters, Emory, 1998. "The Rational Voter Paradox Revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 179-195, October.
    6. Matsusaka, John G, 1993. "Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 313-334, August.
    7. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1993. "The Downsian Voter Meets the Ecological Fallacy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 855-878, December.
    8. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
    9. W. Crain & Donald Leavens & Lynn Abbot, 1987. "Voting and not voting at the same time," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 221-229, January.
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