In the days since the election of Donald Trump, US media and pollsters have been searching their souls – those who have them anyway – wondering how it all went so horribly wrong.
No doubt that will continue, but I have a theory about why so many polls had Hillary Clinton an unbackable favourite right up to the opening of booths last Tuesday.
I think Trump supporters lied about their voting intentions or, at least, refused to take part in pre-election polling.
Why? Because they feared they’d be shouted down if they revealed their ‘voter sentiment’ and withdrew, responded ‘don’t know’, or falsely supported Clinton.
Then, in the sanctity of the polling booth, they did what they were always going to do – vote Trump.
Pollsters get lied to all the time, says local guru Gary Morgan, often to hide the true feelings of respondents.
“The phenomenon of bias towards the party or candidate people think will win is probably the most common bias in political polling,” he wrote immediately after Trump’s victory.
“Given 90 per cent thought Hillary Clinton would win, the theory is people who supported Donald Trump would be less likely to agree to be interviewed, and less likely to say how they would vote. We see the same phenomenon in Australia with Pauline Hanson.”
British left-wing political satirist Jonathan Pie, in a post that has gone viral (See below. Warning: graphic language) and been seen more than 20 million times, says Trump is a direct result of political correctness gone mad.
Pie thinks he knows who is to blame for the rise of Trump…and you're not going to like it!
Posted by Jonathan Pie on 2016年11月10日
“Now, if you’re … against the prevailing view you’re attacked for raising your opinion,” says Pie. “That’s why people wait until they’re in the voting booth.”
The polls before the US election – and, for that matter, Brexit – were wrong because when asked people can’t admit what they truly think, says Pie.
“We have made people unable to articulate their position for fear of being shut down,” says Pie, adding: “They’re embarrassed to say it.”
Which brings me to Steve Price. Yes, Steve Price.
When I last checked, more than 34,000 people had signed a petition saying he was owed an apology by The Project host Carrie Bickmore because she’d “bullied” the radio host on the show last Wednesday.
Watch the incident below:
— #TheProjectTV (@theprojecttv) November 9, 2016
Price, who I’ve worked with and against for more decades than I care to remember, made what I thought was a pretty salient point during a discussion on the show about the unexpected outcome of the US election.
The result, he said, meant “the people in real America, in small town America, weren’t buying the bulldust that was coming out of the elites”.
At which point guest panellist, News Corp columnist Jamila Rizvi, cut him off, calling the idea of real America “bullshit”.
Price attempted to make the point that he’d been interrupted while speaking, eventually giving up, and observing: “This is the reason why Donald Trump won, because people like you lecture and hector people.”
Which earned him the admonishment of Bickmore and the opprobrium of the audience.
I have some sympathy for Price (and, trust me, that is the first time those words have appeared together in any sentence I’ve written). His treatment was a textbook example of shutting down anything that displeases. And it’s become way too common.
As Pie would say, well-reasoned argument has given way to abuse. And, taken to the extreme, it throws up people like Donald Trump.
I’m not sure it’s humanly possible to bully Steve Price. And, frankly, I couldn’t care less if he gets an apology or he doesn’t.
Neither does he, as he made clear on Monday’s The Project when he opened the show by saying: “
Regardless, surely he’s allowed to disagree without being shouted down. And that goes for the rest of us.