- Public opinion polls, voter turnout, and welfare: An experimental study
- American Journal of Political Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 54 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
We experimentally study the impact of public opinion poll releases on voter turnout and welfare in a participation game. We find higher overall turnout rates when polls inform the electroate about the levels of support for the candidates than when polls are prohibited. Distinguishing between allied and floating voters, our data show that this increase in turnout is entirely due to floating voters. When polls indicate equal levels of support for the candidates, turnout is high and welfare is low (compared to the situation without polls). In contrast, when polls reveal more unequal levels of support, turnout is lower with than without this information, while the effect of polls on welfare is nonnegative. Finally, many of our results are well predicted by quantal response (logit) equilibrium.
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