Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 77–98 | Cite as

Pre-election polling and third party candidates

  • Patrick Hummel
Original Paper


I analyze voters’ incentives in responding to pre-election polls with a third party candidate. Third party supporters normally have an incentive to vote strategically in the election by voting for one of the major candidates. But these voters would vote third party if the third party candidate is doing surprisingly well in the polls. Because voters are more likely to vote third party if the third party candidate is doing well in polls, voters who like the third party candidate best have an incentive to claim they will vote third party in the polls so that more voters will ultimately vote third party in the election. The differing incentives faced during polls and elections accounts for why third party candidates do better in polls than in elections.


Presidential Election Vote Share Strict Preference Major Party Voter Preference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Jeremy Bulow, Morris Fiorina, Matthew Jackson, Kenneth Shotts, the anonymous associate editor, and the anonymous reviewers for comments and NSF for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Google Inc.Mountain ViewUSA

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