Pfhorrest wrote:But on the topic of elections in general and predictions influencing how people vote: I can understand that the closeness or foregone-ness of a particular race might encourage or discourage people to vote at all, but one thing I've never understood is predicted outcome influencing how people vote. Like, why would you change your vote to or from someone based on the chances they will win, instead of based on how much you want them to win? Voting isn't making a bet on who's going to win, you don't get anything just because you voted for the winner, or lose anything because you voted for the loser.
That's easier to explain than you might think-- disregarding all the people who won't go vote if they feel it won't make a difference and all the people who want to be a "winner"-- there's also a major issue in the US with what is essentially a 2 party system: the lesser of two evils.
If I know that my vote won't matter, then I'm free to use it to "protest" and pick a 3rd party candidate, maybe even the one I'd really rather have in office but figure that if I vote for them it's a throw away if the race is close and I need to "keep so-in-so out." This gives the voter a sense of satisfaction without the risk of the "more evil" person winning.
The thought process might run thusly: "I don't have to vote against the lady who thinks it's okay to kill a guy for being a few minutes too late* by voting for the other party because the other party is a shoe in/has no chance so I can vote for the 3 party candidate who's a crazy nutter but has real valid changes I'd like to see implemented."
*true story, and said candidate https://ballotpedia.org/Sharon_Keller
is actually on the ballot in Texas, see "Michael Richard"