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Psychological Threat and Turnout Misreporting

Kuhn, Patrick M; Mellish, Samuel; Vivyan, Nick

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Samuel Mellish
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy


Direct survey measures of turnout often suffer from misreporting, particularly among non-voters. We investigate whether turnout misreporting in online surveys can be reduced by two new turnout question designs aimed at strengthening or buffering respondent's self-integrity against the perceived psychological threat of admitting non-voting. Drawing on evidence from survey experiments embedded in vote validated online surveys after the 2016 UK EU Referendum, we find that neither technique significantly improves turnout reporting accuracy. Our findings inform innovations in survey measurement of turnout and sensitive survey topics more generally.


Kuhn, P. M., Mellish, S., & Vivyan, N. (2021). Psychological Threat and Turnout Misreporting. Electoral Studies, 70, Article 102276.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 29, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 15, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 15, 2022
Journal Electoral Studies
Print ISSN 0261-3794
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 70
Article Number 102276


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