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Undecided Voters

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Edited by: Published: 2008
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Undecideds, in election campaign lingo, are voters who have yet to decide which candidate—or side of an issue or referendum—they will support on Election Day. In pre-election polls, there are several ways of measuring support for a candidate or issue and, con-comitantly, the number of undecided voters. A few researchers argue for an open-ended question format, in which the respondent volunteers the name of his or her preferred candidate. Answering such open-ended questions requires respondents to recall candidate names on their own, which means that these questions generally have larger percentages of "don't know" responses than closed-ended questions in which respondents hear or read candidates' names.

More frequently, however, researchers use a closed-ended "trial heat" question because the closed-ended measure has proven over time to be ...

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