Deep Interactions with MRP: Election Turnout and Voting Patterns Among Small Electoral Subgroups



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 60, Issue 1, E2, Article first published online: 17 January 2014

  • We thank Aleks Jakulin, Daniel Lee, Yu-Sung Su, Michael Malecki, Jeffrey Lax, Justin Phillips, Shigeo Hirano, and Doug Rivers for their many helpful ideas. We also thank the Institute of Education Sciences, National Security Agency, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Columbia University Applied Statistics Center for partial support of this work.


Using multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP), we estimate voter turnout and vote choice within deeply interacted subgroups: subsets of the population that are defined by multiple demographic and geographic characteristics. This article lays out the models and statistical procedures we use, along with the steps required to fit the model for the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. Though MRP is an increasingly popular method, we improve upon it in numerous ways: deeper levels of covariate interaction, allowing for nonlinearity and nonmonotonicity, accounting for unequal inclusion probabilities that are conveyed in survey weights, postestimation adjustments to turnout and voting levels, and informative multidimensional graphical displays as a form of model checking. We use a series of examples to demonstrate the flexibility of our method, including an illustration of turnout and vote choice as subgroups become increasingly detailed, and an analysis of both vote choice changes and turnout changes from 2004 to 2008.