Donald Trump has won, so we have another round of stories about polling shortcomings, though thankfully it’s someone else’s country this time round (this is very much a personal take from across an ocean – the Yougov American and British teams are quite separate, so I have no insider angle on the YouGov American polls to offer).

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about whether there was potential for the US polls to suffer the same sort of polling mishap as Britain had experienced in 2015. It now looks as if they have. The US polling industry actually has a very good record of accuracy – they obviously have a lot more contests to poll, a lot more information to hand (and probably a lot more money!), but nevertheless – if you put aside the 2000 exit poll, you have to go back to 1948 to find a complete polling catastrophe in the US. That expectation of accuracy means they’ll probably face a lot of flak in the days ahead.

We in Britain have, shall I say, more recent experience of the art of being wrong, so here’s what insight I can offer. First the Brexit comparison. I fear this will be almost universal over the next few weeks, but when it comes to polling it is questionable:

  • In the case of Brexit, the polling picture was mixed. Put crudely, telephone polls showed a clear lead for Remain, online polls showed a tight race, with leave often ahead. Our media expected Remain to win and wrongly focused only on those polls that agreed with them, leading to a false narrative of a clear Remain lead, rather than a close run thing. Some polls were wrong, but the perception that they were all off is wrong – it was a failure of interpretation.
  • In the case of the USA, the polling picture was not really mixed. With the exception of the outlying USC Dornslife/LA Times poll all the polls tended to show a picture of Clinton leading, backed up by state polls also showing Clinton leads consistent with the national polls. People were quite right to interpret the polls as showing Clinton heading towards victory… it was the polls themselves that were wrong.

How wrong were they? As I write, it looks as if Hillary Clinton will actually get the most votes, but lose in the Electoral College. In that sense, the national polls were not wrong when they showed Clinton ahead, she really was. It’s one of the most fustrating situations to be in as a pollster, those times when statistically you are correct… but your figures have told the wrong narrative, so everyone thinks you are wrong. That doesn’t get the American pollsters off the hook though: the final polls were clustered around a 4 point lead for Clinton, when in reality it looks about 1 point. More importantly, the state polls were often way out, polls had Ohio as a tight race when Trump stomped it by 8 points. All the polls in Wisconsin had Clinton clearly ahead; Trump won. Polls in Minnesota were showing Clinton leads of 5-10 points, it ended up on a knife edge. Clearly something went deeply wrong here.

Putting aside exactly how comparable the Brexit polls and the Trump polls are, there are some potential lessons in terms of polling methodology. I am no expert in US polling, so I’ll leave it to others more knowledgable than I to dig through the entrails of the election polls. However, based on my experiences of recent mishaps in British polling, there are a couple of places I would certainly start looking.

One is turnout modelling – US pollsters often approach turnout in a very different way how British pollsters traditionally did it. We’ve always relied on weighting to the profile of the whole population and asking people if they are likely to vote. US pollsters have access to far more information on which people actually do vote, allowing they to weight their samples to the profile of actual voters in a state. This has helped the normally good record of US pollsters… but carries a potential risk if the type of people who vote changes, if there is an unexpected increase in turnout among demographics who don’t usually vote. This was one of the ways British pollsters did get burnt over Brexit. After getting the 2015 election wrong lots of British companies experimented with a more US-style approach, modelling turnout on the basis of people’s demographics. Those companies then faced problems when there was unexpectedly high turnout from more working-class, less well-educated voters at the referendum. Luckily for US pollsters, the relatively easy availability of data on who voted means they should be able to rule this in or out quite easily.

The second is sampling. The inquiry into our general election polling error in 2015 found that unrepresentative samples were the core of the problem, and I can well imagine that this is a problem that risks affecting pollsters anywhere. Across the world landline penetration is falling, response rates are falling and it seems likely that the dwindling number of people still willing to take part in polls are ever more unrepresentative. In this country our samples seemed to be skewed towards people who were too educated, who paid too much attention to politics, followed the news agenda and the political media too closely. We under-represented those with little interest in politics, and several UK pollsters have since started sampling and weighting by that to try and address the issue. Were the US pollsters to suffer a similar problem one can easily imagine how it could result in polls under-representing Donald Trump’s support. If that does end up being the case, the question will be what US pollsters do to address the issue.


1,352 Responses to “Why were the US polls wrong?”

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  1. @ALEC

    I think one other point we can both agree on is that It wasn’t an election which Trump won, but rather an election Clinton lost. (If that makes any sense !)

  2. @CAMBRIDGERACHEL

    “After losing the election with the ‘electable’ candidate which many of the grassroots didn’t want”

    ——————————-

    Yep and the Republicans in contrast accepted the grassroots candidate and won…

  3. @thoughtful and @Colin – it’s also interesting that Huff Post had an editors note under every Trump item, stating his racism, misogyny and xenophobia. This may or may not be true (I believe it is) but his policies mattered more to enough voters.

    I’ve been quite surprised today to actually get to read quite a bit about what Trump promised. During the campaign, the news I saw simply parroted the gaffes and howlers he made.

    It turns out he was offering policies that are popular with swathes of Americans;

    – Scrap climate change agreements and dig for coal and oil
    – Invest in infrastructure
    – Reduce immigration and send illegal immigrants home
    – Cut taxes for workers
    – Increase taxes for hedge funds
    – Stop getting involved in so many wars
    – Stop treating Russia as a clear and present danger
    – Make the Europeans pay their fair share for NATO
    – replace Obamacare with something cheaper and more efficient
    – Tackle Chima over currency manipulation and produce dumping
    – Reform or replace free trade deals

    This is a partial and partially selective list I have made, and I make no comment on specific detail or whether policies are likely to work, but it’s clear from reading through the list that I could agree in principle with some of them, and many of them would potentially be highly popular.

    By simply targeting his personal failings, I think the liberals dropped the ball.

  4. I must say although I have read the Trump comments kindly supplied by Assiduosity I would be very surprised if he actually withdrew the US from NATO. I think he certainly want’s reform of NATO and bigger contributions to their own defence fom the Europeans.

    I don’t think the UK would dream of leaving NATO, and agree it has proved a pillar of European defence security in the post WW2 period.

  5. THOUGHTFUL

    Probably true. Both tried hard to lose; I suppose that goes to show that Trump is a bad loser (bad at losing).

    Unless his campaign was some sort of post-modern comedy act, I think a Democratic candidate would have to have a decent chance in 2020. A lot of people in the US think Trump is a jerk (even some who voted for him). They just need to select someone who is not a female Mitt Robotney.

  6. A really nice speech by Hillary.

    It’s feels sad to be seeing the end of the line for a hugely significant figure in politics. Whatever your political colours, she is been at the heart of politics for a very long time. She has worked, against a background that makes female politicians have to work twice as hard as men, and judges them by a range criteria nothing to do with politics. She has suffered a massive amount of personal abuse, something most people can’t imagine.

    I hope we see some really significant women rise to the top of US politics, that look like lots of corporate men in suits at the moment.

  7. Sometimes a joke gets told which just make me smile this was one today:

    Democrats in America unhappy with the election of Donald Trump are intending to have the result overturned by an appeal to the High Court in England !

  8. Somerjon,
    “I wonder if, in several decades’ time, historians will identify 2016 as the start of the UK’s shift from being part of a nascent United States of Europe to the 51st state of an actual USA”

    My world model says an independent high wage nation massively dependent on trade needs a shelter. There are few options.

    ” I think it will be a blessing in disguise for Europe.”
    Also crossed my mind. Pertinent to brexit negotiations too, that the EU might conclude they are better shot of us.

    Paul Bristol,
    “And for those who still think that Corbyn is not electable …..the truth is he is very electable”

    I think you are right. I am not at all clear about which demographic voted Trump. All the documentaries and wisdom on the night suggested that it is people whose industries and therefore livelihoods have suffered, who voted Trump. My perception is that Clinton lost the labour vote. I think the SNP in Britain have captured this vote – in fact just about every demographic. Corbyn could perfectly well do the same, the policies almost do not matter so long as they are aspirational and calling for change. Voters are crying out for a cause. Unfortunately the labour party as a whole does not see this.

  9. “Unless his campaign was some sort of post-modern comedy act”

    ————-

    There’s a bit of Boris about him, peeps don’t necessarily take all his provocations that seriously…

  10. I will be interested to the analysis when the number crunchers drill down into the data. I think there are a lot of interesting things going on. Trump took the republicans backwards in a lot of their heartlands, Clinton took the democrats backwards in their heartlands. Its really interesting, how much is demographic changes and how much is trump appealing to downtrodden working class dems and Clinton appealing to moderate mainstream republicans?

  11. @Alec

    “and I make no comment on specific detail or whether policies are likely to work”

    ————–

    Wot, not even the coal and oil bit?? I think we’re entitled to a bit of Alec on coal and oil…

  12. @ NeilA

    “Whilst I am concerned about all sort of things Trump has said, including his attitude to NATO and the mutual defence arrangements, I suspect that he has no intention of scrapping the western military alliance.
    Firstly I think he speaks off the cuff and answers questions even when he doesn’t have a properly thought-through response to give. ”

    I didn’t mean to imply that you were supportive of a view that Trump advocated taking the US out of NATO – I was merely referencing your useful list of ‘existential global concerns’ from your earlier post:

    “It will be a bizarre couple of years in the world, that’s for sure. A lot of comfortable assumptions no longer apply. From the unravelling of democracy in Russia and Turkey, to the prospects for relations with Iran in the wake of the defeat of IS, to Brexit and the EU, to the balance of power in the Pacific. The world is going to look a lot less “End of History” than it did a few years ago.”

    To these I would add the seemingly unabated acquisition of nuclear weaponry by North Korea, the ongoing turmoil Libya and you have more reasons why any unravelling of NATO would be unwelcome.

    I broadly agree with your assessment of Trump as someone who speaks of the cuff; however, there are certain themes he returns to over and over and NATO is one of these.

    I too doubt he has any intention of removing the USA from the alliance – and congress would be apoplectic at the prospect – however, I think his casual words reveal that his commitment to the alliance is not the steadfast, root and branch, central tenet of American foreign policy that we have come to rely on and not to take note of this change – even if it is merely in disposition for now – I think would be a mistake.

    We also don;t know how he would respond to negotiations where he didn’t get what he wanted i.e. massively increased European defence spending,

  13. “the policies almost do not matter so long as they are aspirational and calling for change.”

    ————

    polls showed 86% of Americans wanted change…

  14. The thing that scares me about US polling is precisely the turnout modelling, because there are so many parameters to fiddle around with. I will not be surprised at all to discover that there was a significant amount of herding going on: not active suppression of positive polls for Trump, but ‘correcting’ ‘obviously wrong’ results by nudging the weights one way or the other; or even stashing the fieldwork in a drawer, writing it off as an ‘outlier’ because it looks nothing like the other (published) polls, and trying again.

    This sort of thing has been an issue for the past couple of American election cycles, but this is the first one where we’ve seen the facts on the ground and the pollsters’ sense of ‘feels wrong’ and/or the prior polling consensus have been so far apart (and, crucially, with the errors pointing in the same direction).

    Us in the UK should be very, very appreciative of the British Polling Council. We probably don’t know how good we’ve got it, compared to the Wild West of the American polling landscape…

  15. ASSIDUOSITY

    @”I’m certainly not saying he advocates immediate US withdrawal”

    Nor was I.

    @” you seem fairly sanguine about these matters,”

    I expressed no view of effects of this Election result.

    The world today is, as you say, full of dangers & risks for us all. And it remains to be see what effect a Trump Presidency has on them.But that doesn’t stop me seeing the irony in those who will have castigated US for its military interventions overseas, now being concerned that it will turn its attentions to American pot holes.

  16. Someone on the radio just said, There’s also… the email dump, Comey, voter suppression issues etc.

  17. THOUGHTFUL

    Thanks again .

    re @”This afternoon the BBC has been presenting a breakdown of Trump voters in a highly biased manner that 70% of non college educated white males voted Trump, the implication being that they are too thick and racist to vote Clinton. ”

    I was imediately reminded of some descriptions of Brexit voters by that.

  18. On BBC radio its been mentoned a few times that college educated while males voted Trump too. Which has led some analysts to proffer that it’s more racial than a class thing…

  19. @TOH

    “I must say although I have read the Trump comments kindly supplied by Assiduosity I would be very surprised if he actually withdrew the US from NATO.”

    Indeed. As I hope I explained above I’m not of the view Trump wants out of NATO or that congress would allow it.

    The point I was seeking to make to @Colin and others is that Trump has returned to this NATO theme time and time again and that he has expanded beyond merely the point of European powers paying more. He sees it as an alliance that ‘doesn’t work for America’.

    Now, one could argue, indeed US foreign policy since 1949 has been based on the principle that the ‘Pax Americana’ exercised in part through NATO has very much worked in that country’s interest – enabling it to project power, create new markets, client states spheres of economic and political influence.

    It seems that Trump wishes to apply much more simple metrics to whether an alliance, treaty or deal is in the US interest – in part financial, but also in part ‘what are the short term ‘deliverables’. This, it seems to me, is a rather significant change of attitude.

    One which might not lead the US out of the alliance, but to a loosening of commitments on mutual protection for example, making it conditional. These are very early days, but its worth baring in mind that Obama hardly mentioned ‘the tilt to Asia’ before his presidency, yet it has been his major foreign policy initiative, here Trump is signposting change which could directly affect us.

    In between the froth and bile of this campaign, there have been quiet moments and quite important things said, which now we may wish to reflect on as the reality of President Trump sinks in.

  20. No one is suggesting that black people voted for Clinton cos they were stupid?

  21. CMJ

    @”A really nice speech by Hillary”

    My wife listened with clenched teeth, and when Clinton told “young girls” to believe that they mean something in society, she asked how she could say that -and still be married to Bill Clinton.

    Its not just how you tell ’em-its also who is listening.

  22. @Colin

    For me Hillary’s relationship with Bill is her own private business, and something I (and presumably Mrs Colin) really knows nothing about.

    I pleased to have no opinion or judgment of anyone’s private relationship.

  23. CMJ

    I understand your point of view-it seems to have been shared by many Republican women who voted for Trump.

  24. @Assiduosity,

    Honestly I expect the two effects of Trump’s NATO stance to be an increase in Russian involvement in Ukraine and Georgia, an improvement in US relations with Turkey, and an increase in the amount of money some European countries spend on arms.

    I think it is quite likely that the EU will take this as a reason to further integrate and pursue common defence purchasing, with a view to NATO eventually being an alliance between the US, Canada, Norway, UK, Turkey and the EU. It would suit their long term agenda. Building an actual capable military force that could defend Europe against the Russians without US help is just the sort of excuse they need.

    I have no objection to that. Like Churchill I have no problem with a United States of Europe, just so long as we are independent of it.

  25. @Catmanjeff

    “A really nice speech by Hillary.”

    I agree, and with the sentiments in your post generally.

    Though not the most inspiring candidate in many ways, I have found some of the vitriol and invective aimed at Hilary Clinton somewhat puzzling.

    It should be possible to disagree with someone’s politics without launching the assaults on their personality which she has endured over decades.

    Two small points that lead me to question whether there is a high degree of misogyny still at play within certain sections of the US political system and wider electorate.

    Firstly, I only became aware a few days ago that Colin Powell had maintained a private email account throughout his time at the State Department and had written to Hilary Clinton advising her of how much it had improved the speed and efficiency of communicating with staff. There is a question as to whether his management of his account was more effective, but the precedent seems set.

    Secondly, one of the panel members on ITV pointed out last night that each time Clinton has held office – as Senator for New York or Secretary of State – she has enjoyed very positive public approval ratings, However, these fall immediately that she seeks higher office. During the senate hearings for SoS and then the primaries. Apparently this is a pattern consistently repeated with female public officials and politicians at every level in the US.

    The older I get the more convinced I become that sexism is actually one of the most ingrained, imperceptible and, unfortunately, still, to some, acceptable forms of prejudice.

    In saying that, I do not for one moment contend that would be the only reason Clinton lost.

  26. Assiduosity

    “It seems that Trump wishes to apply much more simple metrics to whether an alliance, treaty or deal is in the US interest – in part financial, but also in part ‘what are the short term ‘deliverables’. This, it seems to me, is a rather significant change of attitude.”

    Yes that fits my view of him as very much a businessman who has wheeled and dealed all his life. If he remains the same in office it will be a significant change as you say.

    I totally agree with your last paragraph. I want to see who he appoints to office and how he procedes in his early days before coming to any deeper conclusions about what his presidency might bring.

  27. @LEEH1971

    “The polling averages for the last couple of weeks had Clinton roughly +3 or +4. She is probably going to win the popular vote by +2 or +3.”

    Maybe so, but they were wrong in predicting the actual winner. Pollsters in America do state polls, so they should have been able to predict the winner as they have done every time since the Truman-Dewey debacle back in 1948.

  28. @ Colin

    It seems we are both agreed that Donald Trump isn’t likely to immediately withdraw the US from NATO.

    However, I do sense in his words a more profound cooling of attitudes to the alliance, and it was to this I suggested that you were more sanguine.

    As to the final part of your comment, I think there’s a world of difference between the central aim of NATO which is, at its core, a pact of mutual defence and assistance against common aggression and countries unilaterally embarking on ‘overseas military adventures’, so I don’t really see why one shouldn’t disapprove of, for example, the US involvement in Iraq, or French / British involvement in Suez, but wish to continue to see all play a role in NATO.

    This seems an entirely consistent position.

  29. Tancred

    The problem is the secret sauce (methodology) used to produce national state polls might be very different to those which produces unbiased state polls.

    Creating 51 different recipes to cater for every region and then when they are mixed together at a national level making sure it still tastes good is quite an undertaking.

  30. @Assiduosity

    In saying that, I do not for one moment contend that would be the only reason Clinton lost.

    I agree, I understand that she lost for a host of reasons.

    In any aspect of life, for men and women, there is a time when you are in your prime, and also a time when it’s time to leave the stage gracefully.

    I think this election was too far past her peak. In politics you pick up war wounds, enemies and baggage. There comes a tipping point when the inertia of this becomes an impediment. She was in top fighting form in 2008 in my view, but sadly she was against an individual in Barrack Obama that was so naturally gifted to be President, she was unlucky.

    It’s like poor Andy Murray. In almost any other era, he would have lots more Grand Slams. He has been unlucky to come to top form at the same time as three of the greatest players to ever have lived, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

  31. @ NeilA

    “Honestly I expect the two effects of Trump’s NATO stance to be an increase in Russian involvement in Ukraine and Georgia, an improvement in US relations with Turkey, and an increase in the amount of money some European countries spend on arms.”

    I wish I had your predictive powers!

    I’m afraid I have no such detailed idea of how Trump’s foreign policy might work out.

    My only expectations are that Trumps foreign policy will be guided by (1) a very defined sense of US national interest (2) those foreign leaders he takes close to him and those he dislikes and (3) the influence of those he appoints around him.

    Until 2 and 3 become much clearer I think a great deal is in play,

  32. Interesting how the posters from the right are doing “bargaining stage” arguments here on NATO.

  33. Useless pointless and uninteresting fact!

    Previously Ronald Reagan was the oldest president ever elected age 69, but Trump will now take that title and advance it by a year to 70.

    I think he has to be a candidate for any dead pool as the stress of the job does seem to prematurely age its holders.

    Another one is the list of presidents who have died in office (natural & by assassination).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_who_died_in_office

  34. Thoughtful,
    “I think one other point we can both agree on is that It wasn’t an election which Trump won, but rather an election Clinton lost. ”

    Both candidates tried hard to lose. Clinton had on her side being an experienced professional politicians. Trump had on his side not being a politician. He won.

    Alec,
    I like your list of policies. I also think the only way Trump could get them implemented is by working with democrats in congress. Its the old axiom that only someone from the right can push through left wing policies, and vice versa. If he could find a better alternative to Obamacare by creating cross party support, it would be astonishing. Maybe thats a bit fanciful, but he might be able to transfer military spending into home investment.

    Assiduosity,
    “I too doubt he has any intention of removing the USA from the alliance ”

    Why? What strategic interest does the US have in defending a continent quite capable of defending itself? The US has been seeking to disengage from nato for quite some time. It cannot afford it. Does it care any longer if Russia expands a bit? Most particulalry, does Trump care, when this might be one of his easier promises to carry out.

  35. I have to say I agree with Danny on NATO.

    Based on his rhetoric, I would expect Trump to focus more on the China. It would not be the first time that the USA turned its back on Europe.

  36. I think we just have to pray that Putin is only interested in incorporating ethnic Russian areas into Russia.

  37. @CMJ

    “I think this election was too far past her peak. In politics you pick up war wounds, enemies and baggage. There comes a tipping point when the inertia of this becomes an impediment. She was in top fighting form in 2008 in my view, but sadly she was against an individual in Barrack Obama that was so naturally gifted to be President, she was unlucky.”

    I absolutely agree with this point.

    For those who believe that she is a terrible public speaker, I would recommend her Super Tuesday speech in 2008. It was political eloquence to be appreciated whether you agreed with the sentiments or no. IMO, of course. I felt this time her speech writers were second rate and, as you say, she was war weary – the Secretary of State job is hard, took its toll.

    From a Democrat party perspective they may wish they had run the candidates the other way round (as Bill Clinton recommended). Hilary Clinton would have won in 2008 in all likelihood, and Obama, would probably be victorious in most election years, like him or no, he is a once in a generation politician.

  38. FWIW, I think that is his intention. Putin isn’t thick; trying to reconquer Eastern Europe would be overstretch for the modern Russia.

  39. @ Danny

    “Why? What strategic interest does the US have in defending a continent quite capable of defending itself? ”

    Have posted on this a few times this afternoon, so you may wish to have a look back through.

    I think that Trump’s quotes are indicative of a ambivalence towards NATO. But that it is difficult to assess the extent of this until we know the shape of his administration, as such unlikely that immediate withdrawal is on the cards.

    Traditionally, the US has seen NATO as a means of projecting power in its role as (the only) global superpower. There is a question as to whether it wishes to continue in this role.

  40. The US’s spending on NATO is not a Congressional Budget line-item. It comes out of the DoD’s general budget, at many various points. There is very little that is directly earmarked for NATO by Congress. This means that essentially the US President has unilateral control of the US’s funding of NATO.

  41. Hawthorn

    I suspect Estonia and Latvia will be on best behaviour towards their Russian citizens, (which is kind of the point).

  42. @Hawthorn

    Are you ignoring the annexation of the Crimea?

  43. @Hawthorn

    I have to say I agree with Danny on NATO.
    Based on his rhetoric, I would expect Trump to focus more on the China. It would not be the first time that the USA turned its back on Europe.

    This would be a continuation of the Obama ’tilt to Asia’ policy. Military containment of Chinese ambition would make sense with an attempt to ‘play tough’ on trade.

    However, we will have to wait and see how much some of the more ‘yellow peril’ rhetoric of the Trump campaign was the typical fayre served up at US elections since the 70s – it was originally the Japanese, of course.

    That all said, it would a big decision to remove the US from NATO, and there is the question of congress and what we used to call the industrial military complex.

    I suspect it would be a gradual disengagement and contingent on substantial improvement in relations with Russia.

  44. @ Jayblanc

    “The US’s spending on NATO is not a Congressional Budget line-item. It comes out of the DoD’s general budget, at many various points. There is very little that is directly earmarked for NATO by Congress. This means that essentially the US President has unilateral control of the US’s funding of NATO.”

    Whilst this is technically true, and certainly not wishing to get into the minutiae of the US budgetary process, as we have seen in the recent past, there are various ways by which congress can insert themselves into decision making processes over which they would appear constitutionally to have no locus. This is especially the case with budgetary matters.

    Furthermore there are wider programme / scheduling discussions that the new president will be looking to have, so unless removal from NATO is a top priority, he is unlikely to want to pick a fight with congress over it in the initial days of his leadership . Especially if there is a chance the party after 2018 may be more ‘in his image’ and amenable to ‘initiatives’.

    Longer term, we shall see how policy develops.

  45. Jayblanc

    He annexed the Russophile part and left the rest.

    Of course that is how the Austrian Corporal started off in the Sudetenland so it may not be a guide to future action. Can’t help thinking that non-Russian areas might be more trouble than they are worth. He would have been in the KGB during the Afghan occupation.

  46. Russian aggression is less likely under trump.

    he is unpredictable and Putin cannot know how he would react to a Baltic adventure. I think Putin will test him however. it might be hairy but appeasement will not work.

    Obama was useless. He put red lines in the sand and did nothing when they were crossed. Result:more imaginary red lines.

  47. The Russophile part of Ukraine that is. He also gained a useful port.

  48. Just a side comment (not that matters), but, right now, Hillary Clinton appears to be winning the national popular vote in the US by a very small margin. In the end, more Americans probably voted then for Hillary than for the president elect (the second time that happens in less than 20 years !).

  49. ASSIDUOSITY

    @”However, I do sense in his words a more profound cooling of attitudes to the alliance”

    I wouldn’t go so far as to judge how much of the rhetoric of the Campaign will now be quietly forgotten, or nuanced-and how much will be carried through to the letter.

    The”sense” of so much of what Trump has said is really yet to be revealed in practice, when he faces the real world.

  50. ALEC

    “This is a partial and partially selective list”

    I believe, though I don’t know, that you could add overseas aid to that list, and that Trump would be likely to throw off a politically correct view of aid to developing countries in favour of a policy more favoured by e.g. China, of entering into trade deals which suit US interests and reward domestic economic interests in the developing country, leaving governance and the management of poverty to them. This would include US traditional policy towards the World Bank and IMF and to the UN and would overturn sixty years of international policy.
    In a number of ways this would reflect some liberal and academic views of the aid system, to the effect first that it does not overcome inequalities of wealth or power, which are determined by trade, and secondly that the system has on the contrary itself become colonialist.
    However, it would have huge impact on international policy in respect of development, including that in the UK and the EU, which pins control of migration on the economic development and creation of employment and services in countries of origin – again, widely thought to be ineffective.

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