It’s pretentious as hell to continue to examine the Trump win. Basically, y’all fucked up, and now you are trying to make excuses for it.
Yes, Donald Trump winning the Nov. 8 presidential election was a surprise, probably to everyone but Trump himself. Now, political scientists, including the ones at the University of Wisconsin, are examining just how Trump won.
Trump, Johnson sweep Wisconsin in historic night for RepublicansIn a historic sweep of battleground states that blindsided pollsters and analysts, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed victory early Wednesday Read…
I’ll tell you — it’s no secret.
He won the Rust Belt because he resonated with white, rural working class Americans, the type of America I, like many students at UW, come from. My home county, Calumet, to little surprise, voted strongly for Trump — but these were the same people who voted for Obama in 2008.
It’s pretty clear to me what happened, by merely looking at the case study of my county. In 2008 and 2016, President Barack Obama and Trump, respectively, ran on waves of populism, having the ability to resonate with traditionally unreliable voters. In both 2008 and 2016, a little more than 25,000 people turned out to vote. Obama won more than 13,000 votes in 2008, and Trump won more than 16,000 in 2016.
A 4,000 vote swing, in a county of 50,000, is pretty huge, but can be explained due to the demographics of the county. An estimated 91 percent of the county is white. It’s clear that Obama prompted young adults and people of color to come to the polls, while Trump made rural, white America turn out — it’s the only explanation that makes sense. In four years, people wouldn’t completely redefine their political beliefs, and since the same percentage of people turned out, we need to look to who turned out.
I suppose we need to know why the polls were wrong too.
Again, pollsters predicted, incorrectly, who would turn out to the polls. They believed the same coalition that turned out to vote for Obama would continue to vote. Basically, pollsters relied on the most unreliable voting block while ignoring the populist appeal Trump carried — a stunning victory for political science.
This isn’t me just saying this — it’s veteran Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, who said in an interview with Politico that surveys under-sampled non-college-educated whites and there was too much emphasis on the changing demographics of the country. This combination led former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to lead, substantially, in the polls throughout the campaign season.
No, these aren’t events to explain how Trump won — they’re meant to save the idea of political science and polling methods. Maybe calling telephone polling isn’t such a great idea, and we should return to, as Gallup calls it, “old-fashioned residential, address-based sampling.”
But what do I know? You guys are the “experts.”
Aaron Reilly ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in social work and economics.