Political Surveys Bias Self-Reported Economic Perceptions

03 May 2021, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


If voters are to hold governments to account for the state of the economy, they must know how it has changed. Indeed, this is a prerequisite for democratic accountability. Yet the perceptions that voters report often show signs of clear partisan bias. At present, we do not know if this bias is real or instead due to priming in political surveys. To test this, I assign subjects at random to either a political or non-political survey. I then record their economic perceptions and compare the results for each group. I show that political surveys do worsen partisan bias, though only among supporters of the incumbent party. Still, much partisan bias remains unexplained, even in the non-political condition. So, while economic perception items remain biased, we can at least be sure that most people respond to them in a similar way no matter the survey context.


Public opinion
Economic voting
Economic perceptions
Consumer confidence

Supplementary weblinks


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.