- The Oxford Handbook of Polling and Survey Methods
- Introduction to Polling and Survey Methods
- Total Survey Error
- Longitudinal Surveys: Issues and Opportunities
- Mixing Survey Modes and Its Implications
- Taking the Study of Political Behavior Online
- Sampling for Studying Context: Traditional Surveys and New Directions
- Questionnaire Science
- Exit Polling Today and What the Future May Hold
- Sampling Hard-to-Locate Populations: Lessons from Sampling Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
- Reaching Beyond Low-Hanging Fruit: Surveying Low-Incidence Populations
- Improving the Quality of Survey Data Using CAPI Systems in Developing Countries
- Survey Research in the Arab World
- The Language-Opinion Connection
- Issues in Polling Methodologies: Inference and Uncertainty
- Causal Inference with Complex Survey Designs: Generating Population Estimates Using Survey Weights
- Aggregating Survey Data to Estimate Subnational Public Opinion
- Latent Constructs in Public Opinion
- Measuring Group Consciousness: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
- Cross-National Surveys and the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems: When Country/Elections Become Cases
- Graphical Visualization of Polling Results
- Graphical Displays for Public Opinion Research
- Survey Experiments: Managing the Methodological Costs and Benefits
- Using Qualitative Methods in a Quantitative Survey Research Agenda
- Integration of Contextual Data: Opportunities and Challenges
- Measuring Public Opinion with Social Media Data
- Expert Surveys as a Measurement Tool: Challenges and New Frontiers
- The Rise of Poll Aggregation and Election Forecasting
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter discusses (1) the development of election poll aggregation and its use in popular election forecasts, (2) the technical and statistical demands of using polls this way, and (3) the controversies surrounding aggregation and forecasting. The first section covers how increases in publicly released polls resulted in poll averaging and aggregation websites becoming popular in the early 2000s, then how election forecasting using polls as the biggest predictors became popular in the media. The second section discusses how polls are aggregated and how aggregations vary. The focus then turns to how polls are used in election forecasts. Finally, common questions that arise from poll aggregation and forecasting are addressed: Are averages always better than single polls? Are there too many forecasts; do we need to aggregate the forecasts? Are we expecting too much from polls, which are meant to be snapshots, not predictions, by using them in forecasts?
Natalie Jackson is a Survey Methodologist at JUST Capital with experience running survey research programs in academic, media, and nonprofit settings. She was in charge of the election forecasting models and poll aggregation at The Huffington Post during the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. She has a PhD in political science and researches how people form attitudes and respond to surveys, as well as how the survey process can affect reported attitudes.
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