Definition of psephology in English:

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Pronunciation: /sēˈfäləjē/


The statistical study of elections and trends in voting.
Example sentences
  • As you know, psephology is the formal study of elections, apparently trivial but dripping with deep, dark paradoxes.
  • Chapter 3, ‘On New Labour's Ups - and Downs ’, is concerned with the impact of psephology (and particularly the 1950s consensus-era electoral analysis of Anthony Downs) on Labour's ‘catch-up’ strategies.
  • Richard Dawkins has a touching faith in psephology if he believes that ‘no plausible swing could even bring us close to a Tory majority’.



Pronunciation: /ˌsēfəˈläjikəl/
Example sentences
  • Labour's landslide in 1997 was a psephological freak: it was caused by Tory voters withholding their votes rather than Labour actually winning them.
  • He chronicles the many elections of the period 1932-3, but offers little explanation of the psephological trends the polls indicated.
  • Sophisticated psephological exercises, opinion polling and trawling of focus groups are still less reliable political guides than human instinct.


Pronunciation: /-ik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • While ahead of its market, its political loyalties do not always give it priority on Labour exclusives over its far-deeper-downmarket rival, Rupert Murdoch's candidly salacious but psephologically crucial News of the World.
  • The attempt to depict the President in the most negative light possible - as a deserter and shuffler - doesn't seem to have had much impact psephologically.


Pronunciation: /sēˈfäləjəst/
Example sentences
  • Roughly 11m people a day read the Sun, people said by most psephologists to matter crucially at elections because most are swing voters without a firm party allegiance.
  • Yet all of these wards have, to varying degrees, relatively large number of voters, certainly larger than most opinion polls or focus groups that psephologists rely on to gauge voting intentions before elections.
  • Even in this unique double Holyrood / Westminster ballot - a psephologist's gift - there was not one single opinion poll in the entire campaign.


1950s: from Greek psēphos 'pebble, vote' (from the ancient Greeks' practice of using pebbles to cast votes) + -logy.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pse·phol·o·gy

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