There is a growing literature suggesting that the result for each constituency at British general elections can be predicted using ‘citizen forecasts’ obtained through voter surveys. This may be true for the majority of constituencies where the result at previous contests was a substantial majority for one party’s candidates: few ‘safe seats’ change hands. But is it true in the marginal constituencies, where elections are won and lost? Analysis of such ‘citizen forecast’ data for the Labour-Conservative marginal constituencies in 2017 indicates not. Although respondents were aware of the seats’ relative marginality and of general trends in party support during the campaign, they could not separate out those that were eventually lost by each party from those that were won again, even in seats where the elected party won comfortably.
- Wisdom of the crowd