I think we’ll file this one under reap what you sow.

From RAND’s Presidential Election Panel Survey:

Among people likely to vote in the Republican primary, people are 86.5 percent more likely to prefer Donald Trump as the first-choice nominee relative to all the others if they “somewhat” or “strongly agree” that “people like me don’t have any say about what the government does.” Using statistical techniques, we can conclude that this increased preference for Trump is over and beyond any preferences based on respondent gender, age, race/ethnicity, employment status, educational attainment, household income, attitudes towards Muslims, attitudes towards illegal immigrants, or attitudes towards Hispanics.

The role of “people like me don’t have any say…” is not significantly related to preference for Cruz, Rubio, Clinton, or Sanders as the first choice for party nominee…

So the endless conspiracy driven meta-narrative so common around here in previous years (and still all too prevalent among the commentariat)? As cautioned by some of us, it’s corrosive and it has real political costs. ~ JPD

This post was read 1027 times.

About author View all posts


If arrogant means not the dumbest motherfucker in the room, then I guess I'm arrogant (though sometimes I wonder).

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  •   I recently came across another study (not sure if I commented it here) to the effect that a common denominator among Trump supporters was that they were very authoritarian, and Trump comes across in a very authoritarian manner. That study, of course, focused on personality traits of the voters whereas the Rand study was based on professed views and assumes some level of rationality in the subjects. While people claim to vote based on whatever seems rational to them, most votes are in fact based on emotions.

      And whether a candidate is supported by an entrenched political elite or by his own ill-got fortune, the man-in-the-street faces the same situation – the choice is out of his hands, since he lacks great political power and/or wealth.

      If Trump supporters think believe that a Trump presidency would give them a voice in government, they are sadly naive. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. I suspect voters feel that the mere act of supporting Trump is a way to give the finger to the elite which has ignored and exploited them for decades (if not centuries) and a Trump win would destroy the the Political Machine. Whether it would replace it with something even workable, much less better is beside the point. (While the Machine may be dysfunctional, it is not powerless and a Trump win would not destroy it).

      Their [justified] hate is aimed at The Machine – and one thing Trump does well is enunciate hatred..

    Afterthought: In any survey, the selection and phrasing of questions can be made in such a way as to favor or disfavor any particular point of view. Why did Rand say, “People like me don’t have any say in what the government does”? That just begs for an ‘agree’ choice. I would answer the same way, yet I don’t support The Donald. (Which is why I take most surveys with a grain of salt).

    • The point is that respondents agreeing with that sentiment are significantly more likely to support Trump, even controlling for demographic factors. I haven’t been able to find the instrument used, but it sounds to me like it was done with a balanced Likert, which is bog standard for this type of question (which does not, by the way, have to be a “flat” question [50:50 agree/disagree] to be analytically significant). I personally would like to see the raw marginals before going too far down the interpretative road, but at professionally-informed first glance this sounds like a very strong “break”.

  • To echo what Ray said, I’d be really interested in knowing more about the demographics of the population outside of lobbyists, etc. who honestly believe they have any say in what the government does. Not to imply that the RAND study may not justifiably challenge popular stereotypes, but isn’t pretty much the entire “99%” in the category cited by RAND as its targeted group type? Again, the question often telegraphs the response.

    • I can’t find PEPS tabulations for this, but it appears to be a relatively standard American political polling question – the figures for 2012 for the National Election Study were 48% agree, 35% disagree, 17% neither. It does appear to be a somewhat mobile number, with Agree ranging between 56% and 29% at points in the previous 20 years.

  • Adrena –
    Mea culpa.

    Stated reason for deleting was ‘bad link’, but the link worked for me so I let the comment stand, thought maybe your browser burped temporarily but the link was okay.

    I clicked the link in the ‘backend’ version of the comment and it worked – maybe the ‘front page’ version didn’t have it formatted correctly or something – maybe no closing tag?

    I should have checked the link from the Front Page and fixed any errata.
    Will be more careful next time. 🙁

Leave a Reply