Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 77–98

Pre-election polling and third party candidates

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00355-013-0724-4

Cite this article as:
Hummel, P. Soc Choice Welf (2014) 42: 77. doi:10.1007/s00355-013-0724-4


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.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Google Inc.Mountain ViewUSA

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