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Nearly all pre-election polls include some type of measure of voter choice in one or more candidate races. Unlike many other kinds of survey measures, voter choice is one of the few in which a definitive and highly visible external validation exists. Polls conducted near the time of an election can be compared with the actual election results.

The key measure used in election polling is the trial heat question: the question that asks a respondent how he or she is going to vote in a given race. Although such questions might appear to be very straightforward, there are numerous choices in deciding exactly how the question should be worded and where it should be placed in the questionnaire.

Wording of Trial Heat Questions

Among the choices to ...

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