Why you should care
Because a year after a divisive election, we’re still divided.
Has it really only been a year? Donald Trump’s presidency delivers a daily — and sometimes hourly — tornado of news and controversy, while Hillary Clinton has produced her own account of “what happened” in 2016 and investigations continue into what kind of say the Russians had in it all. An exclusive OZY and SurveyMonkey national poll, delving into Love in the Age of Trump, finds America still largely dug into the same trenches of a year ago. But there are some worrisome signs for the 45th president among his backers.
While only 3 percent of Trump voters regret their vote, another 12 percent say it’s “too soon to tell.”
Clinton voters are more sure of themselves: Only 4 percent say it’s too soon to decide whether they made the right call, plus 4 percent who regret their choice. Meanwhile, among nonvoters — 18 percent of the overall sample — 16 percent regret their choice not to cast a ballot, and 25 percent say it’s too soon to tell. (You can see the full results here.)
While Trump’s base remains fervently in his corner, the waverers could be Republicans who reluctantly pulled the trigger in the first place, says Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian and professor at Princeton University. Trump’s approval in the Gallup Poll has remained in the high 30s for most of his presidency. If the “too soon to tell” voters start to drop off after more revelations about, say, Russia — OZY’s poll was conducted before special counsel Robert Mueller issued his first indictments — it would be particularly damaging, because Trump has not picked up any new support from Clinton voters. “If there’s any indication that there’s some unease there, that could quickly translate into much greater discomfort among Republicans outside of his base,” Zelizer says. “If that kind of partisan loyalty diminishes, he could be in trouble.”
The “too soon to tell” voters are unusual in many ways compared to poll respondents as a whole. Erin Pinkus, a research scientist at SurveyMonkey who helped conduct the poll, points out that 39 percent are unsure how their friends voted, 35 percent don’t know who their spouse or partner voted for and 71 percent say political party does not factor into their decision to date someone. All those numbers are higher for the “too soon to tell” voters than the entire group. “The bottom line is, they talk about politics less,” Pinkus says.
Still, overall, 92 percent of Clinton voters and 84 percent of Trump voters stand by their decisions — and they often are uncharitable toward the other team. When we asked respondents for one word to describe people who voted differently, the most popular choice — from Republicans, evidently — was “liberal,” but many more used terms like “ignorant,” “stupid,” “gullible” or “brainwashed.” (Points for creativity go to the responder who wrote “dotard,” the term for a senile old person used by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to describe Trump.)
Trump supporter Paul Yoas, 72, of Monroe, Michigan, went with “misinformed” for those who picked Clinton. He quibbles with Trump’s “silly” statements and the “impossible” wall on the Mexican border, but he also shares Trump’s dislike for Black Lives Matter protesters and NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. Overall, Yoas is satisfied with his choice and pleased with how the president has tried to dismantle Barack Obama’s legacy. Says Yoas, “It’s been a wonderful year.”
This OZY/SurveyMonkey online survey was conducted October 17–19 among a national sample of 2,074 adults age 18 and older. Respondents were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data has been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using census data to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. (You can read more about SurveyMonkey’s methodology here.)
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