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Polls to probabilities: comparing prediction markets and opinion polls

Reade, J. J. ORCID: and Vaughan Williams, L. (2019) Polls to probabilities: comparing prediction markets and opinion polls. International Journal of Forecasting, 35 (1). pp. 336-350. ISSN 0169-2070

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ijforecast.2018.04.001


Forecasting election outcomes is a hugely popular activity, and not without reason: outcomes can have significant economic impacts, for example on stock prices. As such, it is economically important, as well as of academic interest, to determine the forecasting methods that have historically performed best. However, forecasts are often incompatible, as some are in terms of vote shares, and others are probabilistic outcome forecasts. In this paper we set out an empirical method for transforming opinion poll vote shares into probabilistic forecasts, and then evaluate the performance of prediction markets and opinion polls. We compare along two dimensions: bias and precision. We find that converted opinion polls perform well in terms of bias, and prediction markets on precision.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Economics
ID Code:77452


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