We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is an Election Projection?

By Mark Wollacott
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Historical Index is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Historical Index, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An election projection uses survey statistics to predict the outcomes of elections. There are a number of statistical methods for doing this. Projections can be based on pre-campaigning surveys, polls during campaigns and exit polls on voting day. Later projections can be made using partial results. An election projection can also form an important part of election monitoring.

Pre-campaign and campaign surveys attempt to test the mood of a nation or locality where an election is about to take place. Surveys and polls ask electors for their opinions on candidates, their likelihood to vote and who they would vote for. If results were taken literally from a single survey, they would not reflect reality. This is why such poll data is adjusted to take into account demographics and voting history.

As a campaign builds, more and more polls will be conducted in voting areas. Using statistical techniques, the results of the surveys can be used to project who will win in the elections. These take into account the likelihood of one party’s voters turning out to vote, cross-party appeal of certain candidates and intra-party hostility against the party’s own candidate.

Voting intentions are often weighed based on the voting system in place. For example, American Presidential election polls need to factor in the Electoral College system in an election projection. That means if candidate A is projected to get 51 percent of votes in every state, he or she will get more than 51 percent of electoral votes. In fact, he or she would get about 535 of the actual votes compared to three for candidate B. This is because all states give 100 percent of their electoral votes to the winner with only Maine and Nebraska using proportional voting.

Exit polls are surveys taken of people who have voted. Exit poll results are not announced until after voting stations have closed. While there is no guarantee that voters tell pollsters the truth, it is usually a good indication of the actual result. When mixed with partial results from the first constituencies or states to declare, a better picture can be created of the national mood. For example, in 2010, Labour in England held on to its traditional seats, but each result showed a massive swing against the party; this led to an election projection of a change in government, as Labour would lose more marginal seats.

Election monitors in countries all over the world are generally looking for free and fair elections. They seek to weed out corruption and vote rigging. The election projection is important to this because it allows monitors to survey voters and to make projections on two fronts: the total number of voters and who they voted for. Sophisticated election projections can then be compared to the actual declared result.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.