Use of election forecasts in campaign coverage can confuse voters and may lower turnout

Americans have long been familiar with “horse race” polls that accompany elections in the United States. But since 2008, a new polling tool has gained prominence, one that not only suggests which candidate is ahead at any given moment but also estimates their probability of winning the eventual election.

These probabilistic forecasts can give potential voters the impression that one candidate will win more decisively and may even lower the likelihood that they vote, according to a new study by Sean Westwood of Dartmouth, Yphtach Lelkes of the University of Pennsylvania and Solomon Messing of Pew Research Center. CONT.

Solomon Messing, Pew