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The Polls in 2017

Abstract

Will Jennings examines the opinion polls in the 2017 election, showing how they tracked movements in voting intentions during the campaign, but also how most of them under-estimated the Labour vote on polling day, suggesting a comfortable Conservative victory when the election ended in producing no overall majority. He also notes YouGov’s successful innovation in using a multilevel regression post-stratification model to make detailed constituency projections of the result, which did predict a hung parliament. He further examines both the campaign trends and the performance of the polls into their historical perspective, finding that it is not true that the polls are getting “worse” at predicting election results, as well as discussing the impact of the pollsters’ turnout corrections on their accuracy in 2017.

Keywords

  • Opinion polls
  • Election prediction
  • Voting behaviour

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-00822-2_14
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Notes

  1. 1.

    The mean absolute error (MAE) can be expressed as the mean of absolute error \(\left| {x_{i} - y_{i} } \right|\) across n observations where xi is the poll estimate and yi is the election outcome:

    $$MAE = \frac{1}{n}\sum\limits_{i = 1}^{n} {\left| {x_{\varvec{i}} - y_{\varvec{i}} } \right|}.$$
  2. 2.

    For a proportion p and sample size n, the margin of error is equal to: \(\pm 1.96 \times \sqrt {\frac{{p\left( {1 - p} \right)}}{n}} .\)

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Jennings, W. (2019). The Polls in 2017. In: Wring, D., Mortimore, R., Atkinson, S. (eds) Political Communication in Britain. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00822-2_14

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