We offer a dynamic Bayesian forecasting model for multi-party elections. It com- bines data from published pre-election public opinion polls with information from fundamentals-based forecasting models. The model takes care of the multi-party nature of the setting and allows making statements about the probability of other quantities of interest, such as the probability of a plurality of votes for a party or the majority for certain coalitions in parliament. We present results from two ex ante forecasts of elections that took place in 2017 and are able to show that the model outperforms fundamentals-based forecasting models in terms of accuracy and the calibration of uncertainty. Provided that historical and current polling data are available, the model can be applied to any multi-party setting.
We present results of an ex-ante forecast of party-specific vote shares at the German Federal Election 2017. To that end, we combine data from published trial heat polls with structural information. The model takes care of the multi-party nature of the setting and allows making statements about the probability of certain events, such as the plurality of votes for a party or the majority for coalition options in parliament. The forecasts of our model are continuously being updated on the platform zweitstimme.org. The value of our approach goes beyond the realms of academia - We equip journalists, political pundits, and ordinary citizens with information that can help make sense of the parties’ latent support and ultimately make voting decisions better informed.