Psephology

Psephology (/sɪˈfɒləi/; from Greek ψῆφος, psephos, 'pebble') or political analysis is a branch of political science, the "quantitative analysis of elections and balloting".[1] As such, psephology attempts to explain elections using the scientific method. Psephology is related to political forecasting.

Psephology uses historical precinct voting data, public opinion polls, campaign finance information and similar statistical data. The term was coined in 1948 in the United Kingdom by W. F. R. Hardie (1902–1990) after he was asked by his friend R. B. McCallum for a word to describe the study of elections; first written use in 1952.[2] Social choice theory is a different field of study that studies voting from a mathematical perspective.

'Psephology' as a term is more common in Britain and in those English-speaking communities that rely heavily on the British standard of the language. In the United States, the term 'political analysis' is more often used.


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