Citizen Forecasts of the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

Michael K. Miller, Guanchun Wang, Sanjeev R. Kulkarni, H. Vincent Poor, Daniel N. Osherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We analyze individual probabilistic predictions of state outcomes in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Employing an original survey of more than 19,000 respondents, we find that partisans gave higher probabilities to their favored candidates, but this bias was reduced by education, numerical sophistication, and the level of Obama support in their home states. In aggregate, we show that individual biases balance out, and the group's predictions were highly accurate, outperforming both Intrade (a prediction market) and (a poll-based forecast). The implication is that electoral forecasters can often do better asking individuals who they think will win rather than who they want to win.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1019-1052
Number of pages34
JournalPolitics and Policy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • 2008 U.S. Presidential Election
  • Citizen Forecasts
  • Individual Election Predictions
  • Partisan Bias
  • Voter Information
  • Voter Preference
  • Wishful Thinking Bias in Elections


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