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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Faith, Facts, and a Dangerous Divide




Pew reports on epistemic closure:
In the contentious weeks leading up to Election Day, voters are deeply divided over the candidates, major issues and the nation’s past and future course. And, in a new survey, most voters say these differences even extend to disputes over basic facts.
Fully 81% say that most supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump not only disagree over plans and policies, but also disagree on “basic facts.” Just 18% say that while Clinton and Trump supporters often differ over plans and policies, they can agree on basic facts.
Ironically, this is a rare point of agreement among the supporters of Clinton and Trump. Comparably large shares of registered voters who back Clinton (80%) and Trump (81%) say the two sides are unable to agree on basic facts.
 Nathaniel Persily and Jon Cohen write at The Washington Post that many Americans have lost faith in the system, and will not accept the election's legitimacy.
Those were the stark findings from a survey we performed from Oct. 6 through Oct. 8 of more than 3,000 registered voters, fully 40 percent of whom say: “I have lost faith in American democracy.” Six percent indicate they’ve never had faith in the system. Overall, barely more than half — just 52 percent — say, “I have faith in American democracy.” (Most respondents completed the survey before the Oct. 7 release of the video in which Donald Trump bragged about groping women, but the responses of those surveyed afterward were indistinguishable from those who answered the day before.)
 This cynicism is widely shared across the electorate, but significant partisan differences emerge on this question, as on so many others. More than 6 in 10 voters backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton express faith in U.S. democracy, compared with just over 4 in 10 of those backing her Republican rival. Most of Trump’s supporters say they’ve lost confidence in the basic mechanism of governance in the United States.
...
When asked in this SurveyMonkey Election Tracking poll if they would accept the result should their candidate lose in November, just 31 percent say they definitely would see the outcome as legitimate. Nearly as many (28 percent) say it is either “unlikely” that they would accept the result or that they definitely would not. Again, Trump’s supporters were more apt to say they would question the legitimacy of a Clinton victory than vice versa, but sizable shares on both sides, representing tens of millions of Americans, indicate they would not accept the legitimacy of the next president of the United States.
Edward-Isaac Dovere reports at Politico:
A measure of where things stand already: asked Saturday at a Trump rally in New Hampshire whether there could be an armed rebellion if Clinton wins, South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster at first pegged the chances of it only at “highly unlikely.”
“There's going to be a rebellion, yeah. Everybody's tired of the system,” said Fred Steadman, a 57 year-old semi-retired man who was at Trump’s Saturday night rally in New Jersey, sure already that the election is rigged.