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Asking About Numbers: Why and How

Ansolabehere, Stephen and Meredith, Marc and Snowberg, Erik (2013) Asking About Numbers: Why and How. Political Analysis, 21 (1). pp. 48-69. ISSN 1047-1987. doi:10.1093/pan/mps031.

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Survey questions about quantities offer a number of advantages over more common qualitative questions. However, concerns about survey respondents' abilities to accurately report numbers have limited the use of quantitative questions. This article shows quantitative questions are feasible and useful for the study of economic voting. First, survey respondents are capable of accurately assessing familiar economic quantities, such as the price of gas. Second, careful question design-in particular providing respondents with benchmark quantities-can reduce measurement error due to respondents not understanding the scale on which more complex quantities, such as the unemployment rate, are measured. Third, combining quantitative and qualitative questions sheds light on where partisan bias enters economic assessments: in perceiving, judging, or reporting economic quantities.

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Additional Information:© 2012 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology. Edited by Jasjeet Sekhon. Advance Access publication November 21, 2012. We thank Mike Alvarez, Conor Dowling, Ray Duch, Jon Eguia, Ken Scheve, Emily Thorson, and Chris Wlezien for encouragement and suggestions, and seminar audiences at Columbia, MIT, MPSA, NYU, Temple, Wharton, and Yale for useful feedback and comments. Replication data may be found in Ansolabehere, Meredith, and Snowberg (2012). Supplementary Materials for this article are available on the Political Analysis Web site.
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Official Citation:Stephen Ansolabehere, Marc Meredith, and Erik Snowberg Asking About Numbers: Why and How Political Analysis (Winter 2013) 21(1): 48-69 first published online November 21, 2012 doi:10.1093/pan/mps031
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36931
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Feb 2013 23:04
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:25

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