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Does Projecting the Election’s Winner Decrease Turnout?

- July 8, 2008

This is a perennial question. People fret that West Coasters who see the exit poll results or hear network news projections will believe that the election is essentially decided and then will choose not to vote.

Let us, once and for all, dispose of this myth, thanks to Bill Adams, a professor at GW’s School of Public Policy and Public Administration:

bq. Adams used meta-analysis, content analysis, survey research, focus groups, a natural experiment, time-series analysis, and other methods to test the hypothesis that election projections decrease voter turnout. Adams concludes that projections do not damage voter turnout and that the real issue is the less tangible one of equity and fairness.

Here is his book’s homepage. Here are some presentation slides. Here is his podcast on the subject.