This seems almost counterintuitive:
Polls get a better reading on the outcome of presidential elections when they ask people which candidate they expect to win rather than just which candidate they want to win.
In the last four elections, Gallup got amazingly accurate predictions of the popular-vote winners by asking this question about people’s expectations.
This phenomenon raises an unavoidable question: Doesn’t this sense of which candidate will win arise from what people have read or heard about presidential polls?
Perhaps the average voter has a keen, if subconscious, grasp of which candidate has greater appeal to the electorate as a whole, not just to him- or herself.
I’ve seen this dynamic among at least a few of our regular commenters on this blog. Four years ago, there were supporters of John McCain who said here that they expected Barack Obama to win. Of course, there was condescension in some of those opinions — as if to say: I’m smart enough to prefer McCain, but most voters aren’t.
There’s more about all of this HERE.