Political Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 719–736 | Cite as

I Knew it All Along! Evaluating Time-of-Decision Measures in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign

  • Lauren KogenEmail author
  • Jeffrey A. Gottfried
Original Paper


This paper evaluates the two most common methods of measuring voter time-of-decision—the recall method and the panel method—and asks whether the two methods are consistent with each other. Using data from the National Annenberg Election Survey collected during the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the findings suggest that these two methods measure different concepts, and thus cannot be used interchangeably. Furthermore, discrepancies between the two methods suggest that the accepted model of early, campaign, and late decision-making should be adjusted to account for a fourth group of voters that never changes their vote intention, but does not truly commit to that intention until later in the campaign. The concept of uncommitted early deciders is offered to describe this group, created by combining the two methods.


Elections Campaigns Voting behavior Methodology Public opinion Survey 



The authors would like to thank Diana Mutz, Richard Johnston, and Michael Delli Carpini for their support and comments throughout this project. Also, gratitude is extended to the many colleagues who have provided advice on this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Annenberg School for CommunicationUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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