Economics professor discusses research into what makes people vote in elections

Professor Eyal Winter from the School of Business has been featured in a ScienceNews article discussing how voter turnout increases when polling numbers are close.

Research conducted by Professor Winter and colleagues in 2006 looked at U.S. gubernatorial races from 1990 to 2005.

Professor Winter and his colleague Esteban Klor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem looked at differences between who was leading in the polls prior to elections and the voting results for those races.

They found that when polling numbers are close, voter turnout increases, especially for the side with the slight majority in the poll.

“It’s nicer to support your team when you’re expected to win,” Winter explains. Close races, while nail-biting for candidates and voters alike, might make people turn out in higher numbers.

Professor Winter also suggests that there are some groups who do not generally vote due to being ‘in social groups that don’t really regard politics as an important issue’, where ‘it makes no sense to vote’.