LONDON, June 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
In predicting an election outcome, a person's opinion on everyone else's vote is often more accurate than any other way of polling.
By using well-known, psychologically robust outcome-prediction techniques - the 'wisdom of crowds' and 'recognition heuristic' - we establish an accurate prediction of the chance of winning the UK general election on the 8th June 2017.
These psychologically robust techniques are rarely used in political polling.
We ran a website called http://idonotcarewhoyouvotefor.com with an Apester poll (common among online newspaper articles) and drove respondents via social media. Respondents were drawn from the author's Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. This snowball sampling was un-weighted.
1. Why did we want to know how the population thought everyone else would vote?
Your opinion on everyone else's vote is often more accurate than any other way of polling. In this regard we are using this question as a proxy for recognition, and wisdom of crowds.
A sense of collective recognition was shown to allow for more accurate forecasts in many domains, including elections (Gassmeier & Marewski, 2011). As in many other areas of life, voters use heuristics to aid decision-making. For example, they take the electability of a candidate into account just as much as, or even more, their manifestos and ideology (Stone & Abramowitz, 1983). Using the recognition heuristic can also help ignorant voters to identify likely winners, or eliminate potential losers from consideration (Marewski et al., 2009, 2010).
Wisdom of crowds
The 'Wisdom of the crowds' was first investigated over 100 years ago by Francis Galton (1907). Over the years, it has been shown that averaging the predictions of many people significantly improves the forecasts about future or vague events, or unknown quantities - as well as election results (Sjoberg, 2009). Recognition heuristic could aid this phenomenon, that's why it is worth looking at them together.
2. Why didn't we want to know people's specific voting intention?
Typical polls can be inaccurate for undecided or wavering voters because we (as individuals) don't have a way of controlling for our momentary political preferences or moods, and ignore the power of mere recognition, or the impact of explicit versus implicit attitudes and their importance in affecting (those of us who are) undecided voters.
Typical polls rely on intention-based election forecasts - simply asking who or what your vote will be. They are weighted in order to accurately represent the electorate. However, this intention-action gap delivers errors. Also, public expression of political affiliation - even to a stranger/poll - can be affected by the context and the people to whom one is asked to express a voting intention.
Oliver Payne, Founder of The Hunting Dynasty www.thehuntingdynasty.com - the agency that funded the research - and author on behaviour and environment says:
"Polling techniques have come under scrutiny recently for inaccuracy - the panic to find better techniques and the odd behaviour from polling companies to distance themselves from their own work ignores robust, repeatable, and accurate prediction techniques established by the psychological community long ago."
Notes to editors
The organization responsible for the work is:
1. The Hunting Dynasty http://www.thehuntingdynasty.com - a behavioural insight group. We change human behaviour - we make it predictable, repeatable, and we prove its success. We are an evidence-based, award-winning behavioural insight and communication agency using psychology and behavioural economics to fix communication, based in London. Founded nearly a decade ago, our name is derived from our core promise - looking for applied psychological solutions ('hunting') that last permanently ('dynasty'). We work internationally, with clients in the UK, Europe, North America.
2. The Hunting Dynasty is awarded for behavioural interventions
- NudgeAwards 2015, Gold
- AURA Insight Impact Award 2016, Shortlist
3. Authors of study
- Lina Skora MBPsS, MSc. Social Cognition: Research and Applications
Senior Behavioural Scientist, The Hunting Dynasty
firstname.lastname@example.org | Linkedin
Lina designs and runs the experimental procedures and statistical analysis for The Hunting Dynasty. She is a member of the British Psychological Society and behavioural scientist with a bachelors degree in Psychology and Management (Joint Honours), and a masters degree in Social Cognition: Research and Applications from UCL, and has been accepted for a PhD on emotion research.
Her background working in European government and well as campaign teams for the a UK political party, as well as experience running charity accounts stands her in good stead with Hunting Dynasty clients, many of whom she has worked on, including successful pitches for Pension clients, and working on an international feedback initiative for a £2bn/year international pharmaceutical company, as well as all the behavioural research for our current project on increasing recycling behavour in-home in Bristol for Bristol Waste Company.
He is founder of behavioural insight & communications agency The Hunting Dynasty, media commentator for The Guardian, Esquire Magazine, The Telegraph, etc, author of 'Inspiring Sustainable Behaviour: 19 Ways To Ask For Change' (Routledge), which wrangles together behavioural economics, environmental and social psychology. He began working in digital startups in Liverpool, NY, and London in the mid 90's. He was Creative Director up to board between 1999-2009 at Saatchi & Saatchi, and Ogilvy in London working on BP, P&G, Cisco, IBM, Castrol, Avis, Toyota, and Visa. He's won many of the world's top advertising awards and sat on judging panels. He's also won awards for behaviour change communications. He is a member of the Influence Advisory Panel populated by academia, politics, military, government and civil society, speaker on behaviour at NATO (Latvia), Gov departments (Whitehall), Start-ups (Netherlands), Science Museum (London) and others, co-founder of the nearly four-years-old London Behavioural Economics Network which meets monthly.
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