Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mode and Vote Exectations

In addition to asking presidential candidate preference, we also often ask survey respondents to predict the election outcome. Indeed, there's some evidence that the second question is more accurate than the first, at least in terms of gauging an electoral result. Obviously that didn't happen this past presidential election year -- both preference and expectation called it wrong.

A lot of what we're looking at, when it comes to Donald Trump, is whether survey mode (face-to-face, phone, online, etc.) affects his results. The hypothesis is that on the phone or face-to-face, respondents are a little less willing to voice their Trump support. That's the hypothesis, but Pew just published a big thing on this and found no mode effect. Here I'm looking at predictions of who will win and survey mode, based on freshly released 2016 ANES data. Caveat -- this is an early, advanced release, and a cleaner version of the data will be released soon.

Here's what I've got so far, hacking away between classes.

Using weighted data, we find that more people anticipated a Hillary Clinton win than Trump. Overall, in weighted data, 61.3 percent predicted Clinton would win, 34.8 percent predicted Trump would win (the rest are scattered across "other" or refused and so on).

OK, how about mode?

In this case we're comparing face-to-face surveys with a web-based (online) surveys. Glancing at the results, I don't see much of a mode effect on predicting the winner. Turns out, in face-to-face and web-based, the same number of people predicted Trump would win (34.8 percent). Clinton had slightly higher in face-to-face (64.3 percent) than online (60.3 percent), but that's not all that big a gap.

Simply put, survey mode made no substantive difference in who people predicted would win the 2016 presidential election. What's fascinating, at least to me, is best I can tell this is the largest "miss" in this ANES question going all the way back to 1952. I'll write more on that another day when I can dig up my data from 1952 to 2012.

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