The study of voting behaviour remains a vibrant sub-discipline of political science. The Handbook of Electoral Behaviour is an authoritative and wide ranging survey of this dynamic field, drawing together a team of the world's leading scholars to provide a state-of-the-art review that sets the agenda for future study. Taking an interdisciplinary approach and focusing on a range of countries, the handbook is composed of eight parts. The first five cover the principal theoretical paradigms, establishing the state of the art in their conceptualisation and application, and followed by chapters on their specific challenges and innovative applications in contemporary voting studies. The remaining three parts explore elements of the voting process to understand their different effects on vote outcomes. The SAGE Handbook of Electoral Behaviour is an essential benchmark publication for advanced students, researchers and practitioners in the fields of politics, sociology, psychology and research methods.
Chapter 34: Polls and Votes
Polls and Votes
Opinion polls are central to the study of electoral politics. With modern election polling dating back to the 1936 US presidential election, and proto-straw polls going back as far as the 1824 presidential election, polls have long been employed to gauge the popularity of different political competitors and, for as long as they have been available, researchers have used them to make predictions about future election results (Smith, 1990; Bean, 1948). Research on the links between opinion polls and election outcomes took off in the 1970s and early 1980s, as a cluster of (mostly) American ...