POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Likely voter

The term “likely voter” is used to describe one of multiple voter segments by opinion pollsters in the run up to elections. It is a particularly problematic term as it is difficult to define just who should be included in this voter segment.

Broadly speaking, likely voters are those registered voters who have indicated to polling companies that they have a strong intention to vote on election day. However, the problem still remains that a certain percentage of survey respondents tend to overstate their intentions when participating in opinion polls, which may lead to wide variations between the results of pre-election polls and the actual election result.

Likely voters differ from registered voters in that they have shown an inclination to vote on election day whereas registered voters may not have. The crucial difference is in that likely (or unlikely for that matter) voters have been asked by a polling company as to whether they will vote or not. 

See also: Election Day, Online Poll, Poll

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