References (23)



What Does 'Intending to Vote' Mean?

Todd Rogers

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Masa Aida

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner

December 13, 2011

HKS Working Paper No. RWP12-056

How accurate are responses to questions about intentions to vote in an upcoming election? Questions of this type are studied in a range of work in political science to understand the effects of other factors on political engagement, as well as in public opinion research. We analyze six phone surveys conducted over two elections which include pre-election vote intention and post-election vote validation (N=24,303). As expected, many who report intending to vote actually do not vote (13% and 54% for the two elections). More surprisingly, high rates people who predicted they would not vote actually do vote (56% and 39%). For both forms of inaccurate self-prediction, respondents were much more accurate when predicting that they would behave consistently with their past behavior than when predicting that they would behave inconsistently with their past behavior. We discuss implications for political science research, behavioral prediction, election administration, and public opinion.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

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Date posted: December 14, 2011 ; Last revised: November 19, 2012

Suggested Citation

Rogers, Todd and Aida, Masa, What Does 'Intending to Vote' Mean? (December 13, 2011). HKS Working Paper No. RWP12-056. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1971846 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1971846

Contact Information

Todd Rogers (Contact Author)
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Masa Aida
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner ( email )
10 G Street, NE
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20002
United States
202-478-8300 (Phone)
202-478-8301 (Fax)
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