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Forecasting daily political opinion polls using the fractionally cointegrated VAR model

Author

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  • Morten Ørregaard Nielsen

    () (Queen?s University and CREATES)

  • Sergei S. Shibaev

    () (Queen?s University)

Abstract

We examine forecasting performance of the recent fractionally cointegrated vector autoregressive (FCVAR) model. We use daily polling data of political support in the United Kingdom for 2010-2015 and compare with popular competing models at several forecast horizons. Our findings show that the four variants of the FCVAR model considered are generally ranked as the top four models in terms of forecast accuracy, and the FCVAR model significantly outperforms both univariate fractional models and the standard cointegrated VAR (CVAR) model at all forecast horizons. The relative forecast improvement is higher at longer forecast horizons, where the root mean squared forecast error of the FCVAR model is up to 15% lower than that of the univariate fractional models and up to 20% lower than that of the CVAR model. In an empirical application to the 2015 UK general election, the estimated common stochastic trend from the model follows the vote share of the UKIP very closely, and we thus interpret it as a measure of Euro-skepticism in public opinion rather than an indicator of the more traditional left-right political spectrum. In terms of prediction of vote shares in the election, forecasts generated by the FCVAR model leading into the election appear to provide a more informative assessment of the current state of public opinion on electoral support than the hung parliament prediction of the opinion poll.

Suggested Citation

  • Morten Ørregaard Nielsen & Sergei S. Shibaev, 2016. "Forecasting daily political opinion polls using the fractionally cointegrated VAR model," CREATES Research Papers 2016-30, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  • Handle: RePEc:aah:create:2016-30
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Søren Johansen & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen, 2012. "Likelihood Inference for a Fractionally Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2667-2732, November.
    2. Maggie E. C. Jones & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen & Micha Ksawery Popiel, 2014. "A fractionally cointegrated VAR analysis of economic voting and political support," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1078-1130, November.
    3. Morten Ørregaard Nielsen, 2015. "Asymptotics for the Conditional-Sum-of-Squares Estimator in Multivariate Fractional Time-Series Models," Journal of Time Series Analysis, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 154-188, March.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:03:p:567-580_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Johansen, Søren & Nielsen, Morten Ørregaard, 2016. "The Role Of Initial Values In Conditional Sum-Of-Squares Estimation Of Nonstationary Fractional Time Series Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(05), pages 1095-1139, October.
    6. David Byers & James Davidson & David Peel, 2002. "Modelling political popularity: a correction," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 187-189.
    7. Robinson, Peter M. & Yajima, Yoshihiro, 2002. "Determination of cointegrating rank in fractional systems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 217-241, February.
    8. Granger, C. W. J., 1980. "Long memory relationships and the aggregation of dynamic models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 227-238, October.
    9. Andreas Noack Jensen & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen, 2014. "A Fast Fractional Difference Algorithm," Journal of Time Series Analysis, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(5), pages 428-436, August.
    10. Gonzalo, Jesus & Granger, Clive W J, 1995. "Estimation of Common Long-Memory Components in Cointegrated Systems," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(1), pages 27-35, January.
    11. Nielsen, Morten Orregaard & Shimotsu, Katsumi, 2007. "Determining the cointegrating rank in nonstationary fractional systems by the exact local Whittle approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 574-596, December.
    12. David Byers & James Davidson & David Peel, 2007. "The long memory model of political support: some further results," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(20), pages 2547-2552.
    13. Baillie, Richard T., 1996. "Long memory processes and fractional integration in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 5-59, July.
    14. Maggie E. C. Jones & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen & Micha Ksawery Popiel, 2014. "A fractionally cointegrated VAR analysis of economic voting and political support," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1078-1130, November.
    15. Sepideh Dolatabadi & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen & Ke Xu, 2015. "A Fractionally Cointegrated VAR Analysis of Price Discovery in Commodity Futures Markets," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(4), pages 339-356, April.
    16. Johansen, SØren, 2008. "A Representation Theory For A Class Of Vector Autoregressive Models For Fractional Processes," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 651-676, June.
    17. Juan J. Dolado & Jesus Gonzalo & Laura Mayoral, 2002. "A Fractional Dickey-Fuller Test for Unit Roots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1963-2006, September.
    18. David Byers & James Davidson & David Peel, 1997. "Modelling Political Popularity: an Analysis of Long-range Dependence in Opinion Poll Series," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 160(3), pages 471-490.
    19. James G. MacKinnon & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen, 2014. "Numerical Distribution Functions Of Fractional Unit Root And Cointegration Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 161-171, January.
    20. Laura Mayoral & Juan J. Dolado & Jesús Gonzalo, 2003. "Long-range dependence in Spanish political opinion poll series," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 137-155.
    21. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501.
    22. Morten Ørregaard Nielsen & Michał Ksawery Popiel, 2018. "A Matlab program and user's guide for the fractionally cointegrated VAR model," Working Papers 1330, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xenia Frei & Sebastian Langer & Robert Lehmann & Felix Rösel, 2017. "Electoral Externalities in Federations - Evidence from German Opinion Polls," CESifo Working Paper Series 6375, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    forecasting; fractional cointegration; opinion poll data; vector autoregressive model;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models

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