Dr Mark Pickup Awarded an SSHRC Research Grant

Dr Mark Pickup has been awarded a Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. The Research Grant is held jointly with Frederick Cutler (University of British Columbia), Paul Gustafson (University of British Columbia) and J. Scott Matthews (Queen`s University) and is for their project, ‘How Published Campaign Polls Affect Elections`.
The research project will address two main questions: How do voters use the information contained in polls as they make their voting decisions? and Given the way citizens use poll information, does the departure of the polling information from actual collective intentions - a result of pure sampling error, polling firms` different polling practices, and the medias use of polls - create bias in electoral outcomes? The understanding of the effects of polls on voters is significant and confounded by complexities of theory and method. This complex relationship between polls and voters has not been adequately addressed in existing scholarship. No empirical analysis has been completed in which the effects of polls have been situated among a range of possible effects ascribed to campaign events and information. Their project will be the first to take an integrated view of the two questions, fully assessing the consequences of poll bias in light of its multiple effects on the voter. As a result, their research will deliver the first comprehensive book on the role of polls in elections, based on the analysis of polls and election survey data from 14 elections in four countries.

Dr Mark Pickup Post-doctoral Fellow in Quantitative Methods, Nuffield College.