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Estimating Parliamentary composition through electoral polls

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Abstract:

Summary. 

All electoral systems have an electoral formula that converts proportions of votes into Parliamentary seats. Pre-electoral polls usually focus on estimating proportions of votes and then apply the electoral formula to give a forecast of Parliamentary composition. We describe the problems that arise from this approach: there will typically be a bias in the forecast. We study the origin of the bias and some methods for evaluating and reducing it. We propose a bootstrap algorithm for computing confidence intervals for the allocation of seats. We show, by Monte Carlo simulation, the performance of the proposed methods using data from Spanish elections in previous years. We also propose graphical methods for visualizing how electoral formulae and Parliamentary forecasts work (or fail).

Keywords: Electoral forecast; Electoral formula; Monte Carlo simulation; Seat allocation; d'Hondt rule

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-985X.2005.00354.x

Affiliations: 1: Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain 2: Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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