The only (other) poll that matters? Exit Polls and Election Night Forecasts in BBC General Election Results Broadcasts, 1955-2017.



Wilks-Heeg, Stuart ORCID: 0000-0003-2919-0875 and Andersen, Peter
(2020) The only (other) poll that matters? Exit Polls and Election Night Forecasts in BBC General Election Results Broadcasts, 1955-2017. Political Studies.

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Abstract

This article examines the role of results forecasts and exit polls in BBC general election night broadcasts from 1955 to 2017. Despite the substantial role played by academics in results programmes, in devising forecasts and analysing results as they emerge, academic literature on election night broadcasts is scant. This article charts the development of election night forecasting over time and its implications for the structure and content of election night broadcasts. It draws on a unique new data set of verbatim transcripts of the first hour of every BBC election night broadcast from 1955–2017 to quantify the attention paid to forecasts and exit polls and assess how they frame discussion of the likely outcome and its potential political consequences. The article concludes that the function of election night broadcasts as ‘the first draft of psephology’ merits closer attention for both the political narratives and the academic research agendas they generate.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Election nights, Exit polls, Election forecasting, BBC, Payne's law
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2020 08:44
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2020 12:25
DOI: 10.1177/2F0032321720906324
Related URLs:
URI: http://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3090520

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