Don’t Confuse Enthusiasm For Depth

Steve Brodie Tucker — the Notorious SBT (someone has to come up with a better nickname here) — opines that what he sees on the ground just doesn’t reflect what he wants to will into existence in the polls.  From the mouthpiece of the semi-broken faction of populists on RPV State Central:

Usually, when I run booths at fairs or events, I’m always walking around my table, looking for people to talk to, to draw into conversation. Yesterday, I was able to sit behind a table as thousands stopped at our GOP Committee booth to tell us that they were voting for Trump and how much they loved Trump; how furious they were with the establishments and how much they despised Hillary.

Of course, SBT is a transplant to Caroline County.  I grew up there… thousands in the sense that two thousand people showed up to the entire event?   Why yes… thousands…

…and I doubt anyone was standing there with a ticker either.  Booths can be deceptive when you’re working them, because naturally your perception gets skewed.  Unless someone is coming there to flip your table (seen that happen), you are awash in confirmation bias.

Jim Hoeft reports this morning that the CNU Wason Center’s latest Virginia poll shows Clinton up by 15 points in the Old Dominion in the wake of Trump’s ersatz imitation of Casanova.

Of course, it’s hard for Trump to back out of a state he never committed to… but this is the additional puzzle piece as to why Trump bailed on Virginia last week.  We’ve gone from bad-Rain-Man-bad-very-bad to President Camacho style sh*t-I-know-sh*t’s-real-bad-right-now.

It’s real bad right now.

Back to Mr. Tucker’s general point, surrounded with people with whom he ostensibly agreed, surrounded by friendly supporters, back home surrounded by folks who agree with him online, surrounded by press outlets that agree with his viewpoints, writing for those who instinctively agree with his sentiment…

…is it any small wonder why that viewpoint might be skewed a tad bit in the face of evidence?  Or worse, how those untrustworthy polls just don’t get it… because such factual evidence contradicts how one feels?

This rejection of facts and evidence is perhaps the sin of the postmodern age.  More to the point, when one wraps themselves in such a bubble despite all the outside evidence, the reality of Election Day hits that much harder.

Shocked Trump supporters will undoubtedly argue that the election was stolen.  That the outcome could not be.  In a population of 320 million people, their circle of 150 friends and relatives (that being the Dunbar Number) is what really matters to them when it comes to feeling about in the dark.  Numbed by the so-called Wisdom of Crowds… we tend to think that what we somehow feel is reality.

Is there a Bradley Effect at play?  Perhaps so — Trump supporters are clearly enthusiastic about their choice, while Hillary boosters tend to view voting for her as something akin to a dentist appointment — painful and easily skipped.

…so maybe it will be tighter by November 8th, and certain folks will look back and say that a 15 point separation was never reality for the mere reason that time separated today and tomorrow.  Yet it does raise a rather curious question: in the great battle between thinkers and feelers, it was always assumed that conservatives were the thinkers, the political leftists were the feelers.

If there is a common thread between the progressive left and the populist right, if the Venn diagram between a Bernie supporter and a Trump supporter where both are against free trade, both support government action to social problems, both support raising taxes on the well-to-do, and where both support a $15 minimum wage — is it really so difficult to argue that in a very similar vein, feelings have outpaced reality when it comes to a certain wild and enthusiastic support for a candidate — even if it is not enough to win?

Ask Bernie how it feels.

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