Seminar Papers, Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University
On the Role of Public Opinion Polls in Political Competition
Abstract: This paper presents a model of strategic positioning
during an election campaign in which candidates use results from opinion
polls to extract information about voter preferences. It is shown that the
distance between policy announcements decreases over the course of the
campaign: candidates announce initial policies at either extreme of the
political spectrum and commit to moderate final policies. An "underdog"
effect arises: the difference in candidate popularity decreases as the
campaign evolves. A puplic opinion poll constitutes a Pareto improvement if
final policies are expected to become more moderate after the introduction
of the poll.
Keywords: Opinion Polls; Election Campaigns; Underdog Effect; Welfare; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D72; (follow links to similar papers)
42 pages, October 19, 1998
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