Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why Do the So-Called "Smart People" Feign Surprise at the Power of Bigotry? A Quick Take on Donald Trump's Exit Polling Data in New Hampshire

"For the longest time I wouldn't believe it, and then I saw the fields with my own eyes."

Should we be surprised? And where do we go from here?

One of my recurring complaints about the so-called political chattering classes is that few of them actually have any training or expertise in political science or sociology. They watch the horse race but miss the bigger picture about the sport.

CNN offers the following exit polling data from New Hampshire:
Half said they wanted a political outsider; 57 percent in this group backed Trump. (The next closest was Ted Cruz, at just 12 percent).

Four in 10 were angry with the Obama administration; Trump won 39 percent of their votes. (Next closest, Cruz, 17 percent).

Two-thirds said they support Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country. He won 42 percent of their votes.

Four in 10 supported deporting undocumented immigrants; Trump won 46 percent in this group

Seven in 10 said they’re “very” worried about the economy. Trump won 35 percent of them.

Six in 10 were “very” worried about terrorism. Trump got 36 percent of their votes.

A fifth of Republican voters were looking for a candidate who “tells it like it is.” While not a large group, it was Trump’s single best – he won 63 percent of their votes.

He also won 34 percent of those focused on focused on “change.”

Voters who haven’t gone beyond high school were Trump’s best group by education; he won 45 percent of their votes. His support fell as education increased, to 21 percent among voters with a post-graduate education – still highly competitive even in that group.

Trump also did notably well in one further group – winning four in 10 of those who are optimistic about life for the next generation of Americans.

His support was remarkably consistent among many other groups – by gender, ideology, partisanship, income and most age groups, save seniors.
The polling numbers for Trump should be of concern to reasonable people, not because he won New Hampshire, but because these numbers are none too different from what we know about today's Republican voters en masse. Fear, racism, reactionary values, and Obama derangement syndrome are the core values of conservatism as a type of political religion.

Why do the so-called "smart people" feign surprise at that fact?

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