Bias in Self-reported Voting and How it Distorts Turnout Models: Disentangling Nonresponse Bias and Overreporting Among Danish Voters

Jens Olav Dahlgaard, Jonas Hedegaard Hansen, Kasper Møller Hansen, Yosef Bhatti

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Abstract

Most nonexperimental studies of voter turnout rely on survey data. However, surveys overestimate turnout because of (1) nonresponse bias and (2) overreporting. We investigate this possibility using a rich dataset of Danish voters, which includes validated turnout indicators from administrative data for both respondents and nonrespondents, as well as respondents’ self-reported voting from the Danish National Election Studies. We show that both nonresponse bias and overreporting contribute significantly to overestimations of turnout. Further, we use covariates from the administrative data available for both respondents and nonrespondents to demonstrate that both factors also significantly bias the predictors of turnout. In our case, we find that nonresponse bias and overreporting masks a gender gap of two and a half percentage points in women’s favor as well as a gap of 25 percentage points in ethnic Danes’ favor compared with Danes of immigrant heritage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Analysis
Volume27
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)590-598
Number of pages9
ISSN1047-1987
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Measurement error
  • Administrative data
  • Validated turnout
  • Voter turnout

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