Accurate Forecasting of the Undecided Population in a Public Opinion Poll

Christopher Monterola 1, May Lim, Jerrold Garcia, Caesar Saloma, Accurate Forecasting of the Undecided Population in a Public Opinion Poll , J. Forecast. 21, 435–449 (2002).

Abstract The problem of pollsters is addressed which is to forecast accurately the final answers of the undecided respondents to the primary question in a public opinion poll. The task is viewed as a pattern-recognition problem of correlating the answers of the respondents to the peripheral questions in the survey with their primary answers. The underlying pattern is determined with a supervised artificial neural network that is trained using the peripheral answers of the decided respondents whose primary answers are also known. With peripheral answers as inputs, the trained network outputs the most probable primary response of an undecided respondent. For a poll conducted to determine the approval rating of the (former) Philippine president, J. E. Estrada in December 1999 and March 2000, the trained network predicted with a 95% success rate the direct responses of a test population that consists of 24.57% of the decided population who were excluded in the network training set. For the undecided population (22.67% of December respondents; 23.67% of March respondents), the network predicted a final response distribution that is consistent with the approval/disapproval ratio of the decided population.

Copyright  2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd