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Forecasting elections

Vaughan Williams, L. and Reade, J. J. (2016) Forecasting elections. Journal of Forecasting, 35 (4). pp. 308-328. ISSN 1099-131X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/for.2377


In this paper we assess opinion polls, prediction markets, expert opinion and statistical modelling over a large number of US elections in order to determine which perform better in terms of forecasting outcomes. In line with existing literature, we bias-correct opinion polls. We consider accuracy, bias and precision over different time horizons before an election, and we conclude that prediction markets appear to provide the most precise forecasts and are similar in terms of bias to opinion polls. We find that our statistical model struggles to provide competitive forecasts, while expert opinion appears to be of value. Finally we note that the forecast horizon matters; whereas prediction market forecasts tend to improve the nearer an election is, opinion polls appear to perform worse, while expert opinion performs consistently throughout. We thus contribute to the growing literature comparing election forecasts of polls and prediction markets.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Economics
ID Code:47396


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