Mind-reading a friend: A better way to ask the polling question?

This article reports on differences observed when asking a simple polling question in a traditional way—that is, asking respondents for predictions about their own voting behavior versus asking respondents for predictions about a friend's voting behavior.


I wanted to use the 2017 UK general election to test an intuition, that instead of asking people for predictions about their own future behavior, we might be better off asking them to predict the future behavior of a friend. In short, I h that we can be over-confident in our ability to stick to intentions, that we are naturally expert at observing other people, that we often tell little white lies to protect our self-image and that, consequently, we are notoriously poor forecasters. Tetlock and Gardner (2015) show that most people are very poor at forecasting future outcomes, even within their own area of expertise.

WARC subscribers can sign in to keep reading

Not a subscriber?

WARC helps you to plan, create and deliver more effective marketing

  • Prove your case and back-up your idea

  • Get expert guidance on strategic challenges

  • Tackle current and emerging marketing themes

WARC consistently delivers valuable insights that help to make me look like an expert in front of my colleagues and clients.

Dasha Boryso
Strategy Partner, Fetch

You’re in good company

We work with 80% of Forbes' most valuable brands* and 80% of the world's top top-of-the-class agencies.

* Top 10 brands