March 5, 2013

They think they are representing you

An interesting finding from the US (via):  politicians think their electorates are more conservative than they actually are — slightly more conservative for left-wing politicians, much more conservative for right-wing ones.



The errors are large: right-wing politicians overestimate the support among their electorate for conservative positions by an average of nearly 20%.  The size of the error, and the big differences by ideology of the politician mean that it can’t just be explained by actual voters being more conservative than the population at large.


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »