Dictionary of Polling: The Language of Contemporary Opinion Research

By Michael L. Young | Go to book overview
Save to active project


EARLY DECIDERS Prospective voters who make up their minds early about who they will support in an upcoming election. Early deciders then are little influenced by the subsequent political campaign. They have made their choice and are unlikely to change it.

At one time, early deciders made up two-thirds or more of the electorate in presidential campaigns. They are still a major chunk of voters, but fall considerably short of that level ( Asher, 1988:115-118). In fact, more and more voters today are late deciders who make up their mind in the closing days of a campaign.

Declining party loyalty explains some of the decrease in early deciders. Strong Democrat or Republican leanings used to help voters make up their minds but fewer people today have those leanings. Late deciders typically lack strong partisan attachments to guide their electoral choice. Consequently, they reach their vote decision on the basis of other factors--including political advertising and news coverage, which tend to be concentrated late in a campaign ( M. L. Young, 1987:186).

Early decider is a standard category pollsters use to classify voter behavior. Some other standard classifications commonly used are likely voter, ticket splitter, and undecided. All these labels efficiently summarize information derived from the poll and group respondents with others who exhibit the same political behavior ( Martin, 1983:697-702). See alsoRESPONDENT.

ECOLOGICAL FALLACY The logical error of inferring a single person's opinion from polling data about groups. Ecological fallacies present serious hazards for those analyzing survey results ( Sellitz, Wrightsman, and Cook, 1976:439-440).

A hung jury illustrates the conditions that can produce ecological fallacies:


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Dictionary of Polling: The Language of Contemporary Opinion Research


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 276

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?