Huber, G., & Tucker, P. (2023). What to Expect When You're Electing: Citizen Forecasts in the 2020 Election. Political Science Research and Methods, Published online: 16 March 2023. DOI:10.1017/psrm.2022.61.
Political divisions in the lead-up to the 2020 US presidential election were large, leading many to worry that heighted partisan conflict was so stark that partisans were living in different worlds, divided even in their understanding of basic facts. Moreover, the nationalization of American politics is thought to weaken attention to state political concerns. 2020 therefore provides an excellent, if difficult, test case for the claim that individuals understand their state political environment in a meaningful way. Were individuals able to look beyond national rhetoric and the national environment to understand state-level electoral dynamics? We present new data showing that, in the aggregate, despite partisan differences in electoral expectations, Americans are aware of their state's likely political outcome, including whether it will be close. At the same time, because forecasting the overall election outcome is more difficult, Electoral College forecasts are much noisier and display persistent partisan difference in expectations that do not differ much with state of residence.
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