Journal Article

Accuracy of Pre-Election Polls for the 2006 Italian Parliamentary Election: Too Close to Call

Mario Callegaro and Giancarlo Gasperoni

in International Journal of Public Opinion Research

Published on behalf of World Association for Public Opinion Research

Volume 20, issue 2, pages 148-170
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0954-2892
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1471-6909 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijpor/edn015
Accuracy of Pre-Election Polls for the 2006 Italian Parliamentary Election: Too Close to Call

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  • Communication Studies
  • Marketing
  • Media and Communication
  • Political Behaviour
  • Social Research and Statistics

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In this article, we analyze the accuracy of over 70 published and 19 unpublished pre-election polls reporting results pertaining to the April 2006 election for the Chamber of Deputies in Italy and apply a new measure of predictive accuracy, A, recently introduced in the U.S. context. The center-left coalition won the election with a narrow margin of 0.1 percent of the votes, which came as a surprise: all published pre-election polls had attributed a 3 to 4 percentage point lead for the center-left. The failure of virtually all pollsters to predict the outcome is due to various factors: sampling error issues; a 15-day pre-election embargo on publishing results; high coverage error due to households having only mobile phones or no phone at all; a possible reluctance of Italian voters to declare their intention to vote for the center-right. The new measure of poll accuracy was easy to adapt and apply to the Italian context, due to a recent election reform. Information given by pollsters remains, however, too inadequate to engage in comprehensive evaluations of their polls.

Journal Article.  8614 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Communication Studies ; Marketing ; Media and Communication ; Political Behaviour ; Social Research and Statistics

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