Political Science & Economics: Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships: Do Elections Vary in their Predictability?

Political Science & Economics: Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships: Do Elections Vary in their Predictability? A metaanalysis of the factors that lead to electoral predictive failure Start date: 1 October 2018 Swansea University is proud to offer 15 fully-funded PhD scholarships for students commencing study in October 2018 or January 2019. The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of student excellence across a portfolio of 34 potential projects. Project description: Widespread failures to predict election results have been highly prominent in recent years. Pollsters, pundits and academics largely failed to foresee the 2015 Conservative majority; the 2016 Brexit referendum result; the election of Donald Trump in the USA and the failure of the Conservative Party to secure a parliamentary majority in 2017. Typically, such failures lead to methodologically-focused investigations and reports. Such reports have largely sought to refine polling methodology. However, this project would look to the target of the predictions, the election itself, rather than the methodology by which predictions are made, as a source of predictive uncertainty. As such, it stands to make a profound contribution both to the ever-growing study of electoral prediction as well as to the wider study of elections. Simply put this project aims to answer two questions: are some elections more difficult to correctly predict than others? If so, what factors cause the predictability of an election to vary? In analysing these questions, the project would have three key components: they involve conceptualization of predictive failure, theoretical work on factors that may cause electoral predictability to vary and empirical data collection and analysis work that will test theoretical insights over a wide range of elections, spanning over several decades. In terms of facilities, the student will have access to the College of Arts and Humanities statistical software package (SPSS)

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