Sources of Bias in Voter Expectations under Proportional Representation

Renan Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


Recent studies have found that voters use information about the latest polls when generating expectations about election outcomes. Even though many respondents to the 2002 Dutch Parliamentary Election Study can recall the latest polls accurately to within a few seats, voters' recollections are imperfect. Using a two-stage least squares regression analysis, we find that partisan wishful thinking inflates the number of seats the respondent thinks the party received in the latest polls, indirectly increasing the number of seats the respondent predicts the party will win on election day. These partisan biases also exert a separate, direct effect on predictions. These biased expectations were not mitigated by increased levels of political knowledge. We conclude that wishful thinking among Dutch voters has a strong cognitive component based on biased recall of information.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)215-234
JournalJournal of elections, public opinion and parties
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • IR-61367

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