Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research Shows Pollsters How The Undecided Will Vote

Date:
August 21, 2008
Source:
University of Western Ontario
Summary:
As the American Presidential election approaches, pollsters are scrambling to predict who will win. A new study may give pollsters a new way to determine how the undecided will vote, even before the voters know themselves.

As the American Presidential election approaches, pollsters are scrambling to predict who will win. A study by a team of researchers at The University of Western Ontario, Canada, and the University of Padova, Italy, may give pollsters a new way to determine how the undecided will vote, even before the voters know themselves.

"Automatic Mental Associations Predict Future Choices of Undecided Decision Makers," appears in the August 22nd issue of the journal Science.

Senior author Bertram Gawronski, Canada Research Chair in Social Psychology at The University of Western Ontario, explains that sometimes, people have already made up their minds at an unconscious level, even when they consciously indicate they are undecided. Using a common psychological testing methodology, called 'the implicit association test,' his research team was able to tap into automatic mental associations of participants who reported to be undecided about a controversial political issue, and these associations ultimately predicted their future decisions.

Using subjects in Vicenza, Italy, where article co-authors Silvia Galdi and Luciano Arcuri reside, the researchers interviewed 129 residents about the impending enlargement of a U.S. military base in their community. The plans were controversial, and media reports showed strong polarization among residents.

The researchers interviewed each subject twice, one week apart. Each time the participants were first asked if they were 'pro,' 'con' or 'undecided' about the expansion. They then were asked to answer questions about their beliefs on environmental, political, economic and other consequences of the enlargement of the base. Finally, they were given a computer-based latency test of automatic mental associations, in which they were asked to categorize pictures of the base, and positive and negative words as quickly as possible. The full questioning and testing was performed a second time a week later. Automatic associations that undecided participants revealed in the first round significantly predicted their conscious beliefs and preferences as expressed in the second round.

In other words, the researchers could predict future choices of participants who were still undecided in the first session.

Gawronski says, "This kind of testing has many applications, but certainly political polling at election time would be one. It can't give answers to all questions, but it could certainly help pollsters to get more information than people now share."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Western Ontario. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Western Ontario. "Research Shows Pollsters How The Undecided Will Vote." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821163854.htm>.
University of Western Ontario. (2008, August 21). Research Shows Pollsters How The Undecided Will Vote. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821163854.htm
University of Western Ontario. "Research Shows Pollsters How The Undecided Will Vote." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821163854.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins