Think Twice before Jumping on the Bandwagon: Clarifying Concepts in Research on the Bandwagon Effect

  title={Think Twice before Jumping on the Bandwagon: Clarifying Concepts in Research on the Bandwagon Effect},
  author={Matthew Barnfield},
  journal={Political Studies Review},
  pages={553 - 574}
  • M. Barnfield
  • Published 6 September 2019
  • Business
  • Political Studies Review
The potential influence of perceived popularity of political parties or candidates on individual vote choice is most commonly studied in terms of a ‘bandwagon effect’. However, there is confusion over exactly what the bandwagon effect is. In this article, I seek to remedy this confusion by providing a clear definition and typology of bandwagon effects, grounded in a review which reappraises existing scholarship. I argue that the bandwagon effect is a distinct social phenomenon involving an… 

Tables from this paper

Jumping on the Bandwagon: The Role of Voters’ Social Class in Poll Effects in the Context of the 2021 German Federal Election

Published findings of opinion polls are an important part of the political coverage before elections. Thus, researchers have long investigated whether the perceived popularity of political parties

The dynamic threshold model of bandwagon innovations: Role of organizational attention and legitimacy

  • M. Jawad
  • Business
    Organizational Psychology Review
  • 2021
Innovations are not always adopted due to their expected economic impact but often due to bandwagon pressure. Fueled by economic uncertainty, these “bandwagon innovations” are adopted once the

Poll Wars: Perceptions of Poll Credibility and Voting Behaviour

Pre-election opinion polls are an increasingly prominent aspect of political campaigns, yet they often vary in terms of their results, sources, and where they are published. Citizens are therefore

The Winner-Loser Spiral in Political News Coverage: Investigating the Impact of Poll Coverage on Subsequent Party Coverage

ABSTRACT One consistent finding within journalism research is the media’s heavy reliance on the so-called game frame when covering the political process. One main component of this frame is the

Casting Ballots When Knowing Results

Abstract Access to information about candidates' performance has long stood as a key factor shaping voter behaviour, but establishing how it impacts behaviour in real-world settings has remained

Total Recall? Examining the Accuracy of Poll Recall during an Election Campaign

ABSTRACT Despite a considerable interest in the effects of polls published during election campaigns, we know little about how well people internalize and remember their results. This paper studies

PollBasePro: Daily Estimates of Aggregate Voting Intention in Britain from 1955 to the Present Day

Political scientists often use public opinion polls to test their theories. Yet these data present some difficulties. First, they are noisy. Second, they occur at irregular intervals. Third, they

COVID-19 Vaccine Passport and International Traveling: The Combined Effect of Two Nudges on Americans’ Support for the Pass

It is found that both nudges increase the support for the COVID pass and that their impact is stronger when they are used together and that the two nudges do not negatively affect intentions to get vaccinated.



Back on the Bandwagon: The Effect of Opinion Polls on Public Opinion

  • C. Marsh
  • Business
    British Journal of Political Science
  • 1985
The bandwagon was the caravan in a circus that carried the band, and usually took the lead in a procession. It has come to stand as a symbol for a party or a cause which is successful; we talk of

Off the Fence, onto the Bandwagon? A Large-Scale Survey Experiment on Effect of Real-Life Poll Outcomes on Subsequent Vote Intentions

Despite decades of scholarly inquiry, the debate on the existence of a bandwagon effect in politics remains undecided. This article aims to overcome the limitations of previous experimental and

New Evidence About the Existence of a Bandwagon Effect in the Opinion Formation Process

This study undertakes an empirical test of the "bandwagon effect"—individuals rallying to the majority opinion. The study is done outside the electoral context on two issues: abortion and the

Jumping on the Bandwagon with the Underdog: The Impact of Attitude Polls on Polling Behavior

An experimental design was used to examine the effect which previous polling information about candidate preference had upon subsequent polling responses. Subjects were given one of three types of

Bandwagon, Underdog, or Projection? Opinion Polls and Electoral Choice in Britain, 1979-1987

Since the widespread use of opinion polls in British general elections began in the 1950s, there has been continuing controversy concerning their impact on the vote. The bandwagon effect sees voters


Previous explanations of bandwagons from election polls have exclusively emphasized conformity causes. We propose, in addition, “indirect' causes, in which election predictions first affect key

Are public opinion polls self-fulfilling prophecies?

Psychologists have long observed that people conform to majority opinion, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as the ‘bandwagon effect’. In the political domain people learn about prevailing public

Bandwagon or strategic voting in Israel? Note on Bargsted and Kedar 2009

What motivates bandwagon voting behavior: Altruism or a desire to win?