Election Introspection

Members of our MindMover Community have been sharing their thoughts on the upcoming US Elections. David from MindMover's Communities team has been analysing how their views have changed over 2016:



Election Introspection: the Lesser of Two Evils?

It is the story that has dominated the media for many months. The upcoming presidential election in America has been exciting, controversial, divisive and in some cases, quite worrying. Both Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton have come under fire for various aspects of their campaigns, with people around the world concerned about the global effects of either party being elected next month.

The idea of Donald Trump running for president was something we first asked about at the end of last year. Many people then could see him becoming president, but most displayed concern about the idea, suggesting he was “racist”, “bigoted” and, in some cases, “dangerous”. In the words of one panellist: “I'd rather see Homer Simpson in the White House. At least he would be predictable.” A lot of respondents worried about the impact he would have as president, and condemned his generalised views on Muslims. However, there will always be differences in opinions, and some welcomed the idea, applauding, among other things, his proactive stance towards ISIS. Whatever else you may think about him, Trump is a man of action.

Of course, he is not the only player in the election game – despite perhaps being the most widely publicised. Over the course of the year, we have been asking our MindMover members for their opinions on the election race, and our polls have returned some interesting results. In April, we asked whether people would vote for Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton, and the overwhelming response was for Clinton, with 75% of respondents stating that they would vote for her.

Moving forward to August, we wanted to know if people’s views had changed, and asked instead who they thought would win the election. 71% thought Clinton would win, while 23% believed Trump would emerge victorious, with the remaining 6% opting for other candidates. Of those who chose either Trump or Clinton, 76% thought the decision would go Clinton’s way, showing that after a few months, people who wanted Clinton to triumph still thought she would, with a small percentage of those who would have voted for Trump thinking he would not actually win.

When asked in a more detailed environment, however, the figures supporting Clinton do not tell the whole story. We recently asked our members on the MindMover forum for their thoughts on both candidates. It seems that, while when pressed, many would choose to vote for Clinton, both she and Trump cause people concern. The majority of comments talked about choosing the lesser of two evils. One respondent described the choice as akin to “[losing] a leg or an arm”, while another suggested that “Trump is an idiot, Hilary is no saint… I would hate to have to choose between these two”. Most still seemed to sway towards Clinton, but in many cases, this was less about wanting to choose her, and more about not wanting to choose Trump. The decision was summed up by one member as “In a word: ‘scary’”.

It seems, then, that among our members, people prefer the idea of President Clinton to President Trump. However, this is just on the surface; we found that when we dug deeper, this was more to do with more serious concerns about Trump than active support for Clinton.

Of course, we are not the ones making the decision; that falls to the citizens of America. We can only hope that the choice they make next month – whichever way it ends up going – does not come with severe global repercussions.

David Rees is the Community Content Editor at MindMover Consumer Insight. To find out more about MindMover Connect and other research communities run by MindMover, email our team at hello@mindmover.co.uk or call 44 (0) 203 176 0729