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Timing of Vote Decision in First and Second Order Dutch Elections 1978–1995: Evidence from Artificial Neural Networks

  • Rob Eisinga, Philip Hans Franses and Dick van Dijk


A time series (t = 921) of weekly survey data on vote intentions in the Netherlands for the period 1978–1995 shows that the percentage of undecided voters follows a cyclical pattern over the election calendar. The otherwise substantial percentage of undecided voters decreases sharply in weeks leading up to an election and gradually increases afterwards. This article models the dynamics of this asymmetric electoral cycle using artificial neural networks, with the purpose of estimating when the undecided voters start making up their minds. We find that they begin to decide which party to vote for nine weeks before a first order national parliamentary election and one to four weeks before a second order election, depending on the type of election (European Parliament, Provincial States, City-councils). The effect of political campaigns and the implications for political analysis are discussed.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dick van Dijk, Tinbergen Institute, P.O. Box 1738, NL-3000 DR Rotterdam, the Netherlands, e-mail: GAUSS programs estimate parameters in artificial neural networks will soon be available at


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Our thanks to Walter Mebane and Jonathan Wand.



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Timing of Vote Decision in First and Second Order Dutch Elections 1978–1995: Evidence from Artificial Neural Networks

  • Rob Eisinga, Philip Hans Franses and Dick van Dijk


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