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Was listening to pollsters being quizzed on BBC Radio 2 about Why They Got It Wrong at lunchtime. Much talk of percentages of variation and people not wanting to give socially unacceptable answers in telephone polls.

But I wondered, as I did with Brexit, if it is possible that the emphatic reporting of polls itself changes peoples voting intentions?

If the candidate/option you prefer appears to be winning, does that decrease the likelihood that less enthused voters who prefer that option but aren't wild about it, would turn out?

Did it increase the likelihood that Trump voters vote, seeing Clinton in the lead and reported as a probable winner?

I'm just wondering if 'Hell no!' is a more effective voting motivator than 'let's just make sure about this'.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
heartofoshun
9th Nov, 2016 13:51 (UTC)
I wonder about that also.
timetiger
9th Nov, 2016 16:43 (UTC)
"If the candidate/option you prefer appears to be winning, does that decrease the likelihood that less enthused voters who prefer that option but aren't wild about it, would turn out?"

That seems sound to me.

I've heard the suggestion that people don't like to give socially unacceptable answers to polls, but I don't understand why people would feel such constraint when speaking anonymously over the phone.
diejacobsleiter
9th Nov, 2016 16:54 (UTC)
Trump voters wanted Trump; Clinton voters wanted anyone but Trump, and it´s a weaker motivation. Trump voters were inspired by changes he offered (whatever we think about it), Clinton voters wanted to change nothing, it's a weaker motivation too. So obviously Trump's people had a stronger fighting spirit.

All this means that you are right, and it could be one of the reasons why Trump voters were "suddenly" mobilized by polls showing Clinton's victory.

Another possible explanation is that polls could be a bit disbalanced; maybe they didn't cover rural zone properly. Or countryside people weren't very keen to share their views...

I expected Trump's victory for many reasons (though don't welcome it), and I didn't believe that polls show a full picture.
anna_wing
10th Nov, 2016 02:56 (UTC)
Fear combined with hatred is a stronger motivator than fear alone.

I am in favour of mandatory voting, myself, which I believe gives a truer picture of the views of the electorate.

lindahoyland
10th Nov, 2016 08:55 (UTC)
A good point.
wellinghall
10th Nov, 2016 20:27 (UTC)
I have read about this (but am not sure when - when I was studying economics?) There are theories that both A being in the lead in the polls can get more people voting A, and that it can get more people voting B.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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