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Bandwagon and underdog effects refer to the reactions that some voters have to the dissemination of information from trial heat questions in pre-election polls. Based upon the indication that one candidate is leading and the other trailing, a bandwagon effect indicates the tendency for some potential voters with low involvement in the election campaign to be attracted to the leader, while the underdog effect refers to the tendency for other potential voters to be attracted to the trailing candidate.

Background

Bandwagon and underdog effects were a concern of the earliest critics of public polls, and the founders of polling had to defend themselves against such effects from the start. The use of straw polls was common by the 1920s, and by 1935 a member of Congress had ...

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