Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Post-Election Stuff

I'll let the polling pros do their forensics and take apart what went wrong, and sometimes right, with the pre-election polls. Once that's done I may add more. In general it seems less a case of "shy" Donald Trump voters and models that overestimated or underestimated turnout by key voting groups (minorities, less educated whites, etc.).

I'll also wait until more data are available to get at a question that always interests me -- the consent, or lack thereof, of the losers. Already we're seeing "Not My President" marches, which, to me, is as stupid as the kooks who said the same thing when Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and again in 2012. Here I raise this question -- if Trump had lost to Hillary Clinton, the "surprised losers" in that scenario would have been angry. I suspect most Clinton "surprised losers" today are less angry than sickened. Those are very different emotions. Anger can sometimes attempt to legitimize an outcome, thus threatening democracy and the electoral process. Being sickened by an outcome, that's less likely to result in those kinds of democracy-threatening outcomes.

So let's see. Yes, once data are ready, I plan on examining the "surprised losers" among Clinton supporters to explore just what their feelings are about the electoral process. And of course I'll look at their media use and see what predictive power that may have. In general, unlike some previous elections, I do not expect powerful negative feelings about democracy and the process itself, but you never know. That's why we do the research.

And in Spring I teach a graduate class in Public Opinion. I tried to cancel it today, saying public opinion is dead, given its lousy calls prior to the election. That's great, the grad dean said, but I've still got to teach the class. Ten students already signed up. Sigh.

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