Why do you think social media and the nation’s newsrooms were shell-shocked after the 2016 election results? It was possibly because every poll from every corner of the world said that Hillary was about to win. So, how could everyone be so wrong?
Now that we go back and analyze the polling results and the poling methods, we kind of understand what we could have done wrong. Most of Hillary’s supporters were city people, who have a ready access to mobile phones and internet. With Trump, the case is different. He appealed to the rural masses. A lot of people from remote towns in Texas and Oregon travelled to the city just for the 2016 elections. These people have limited access to both mobiles and internet. It is completely possible that the online surveys and polls completed excluded them.
There were people no one polled
These are people who saw a message of hope in Trump’s words. They did not have to take much effort to look past Trump’s cheesy exterior and cheeky comments.They were taken by the idea of a new US with new jobs and lesser number of immigrants. They have blamed Obama’s America for their lack of hope for all these days. In reality, there is a dearth of jobs in small towns and people have to move to the “big city” for a daily wage job that can barely pay their rents. So in one way, these hopeless people “acted out”.
He used the media to misinform and create false buzz
Trump is possibly one of the most conniving businessmen and entertainers in the history of America. He made use of the US media’s fragmented landscape to comfort most Democratic party supporters by feeding the media misconstrued information and half-truths. While majority of the media was busy in denying the possibility of a Trump triumph, he was steadily paving his way to the White House.
This was quite an easy feat. People believe what they want to believe, and Trump packaged it just right for public consumption. So was true for social media users. Once a post went viral, there was no looking back. In reality, Trump made use of each and every vine and YouTube video for his own promotion. His biggest advantage was these would never reach the rural people from whom he drew the majority of his votes. They only saw a man in a dapper suit, standing in front of millions and speaking with honesty. Challenging the Obama rule was his winning move in Texas and many believe that is where he secured his majority.
As a matter of fact, when media houses started promotingTrump’s buffoonery with vengeance, he didn’t do much to stop it. The media houses were fooled into believing that making a joke out of him was enough from keeping him winning the 2016 elections, and they couldn’t have been more wrong!Trump sucked up all insults and used negative publicity to tread into domains no one has ever gone into. This actually gave Trump billion’s worth of free media coverage and helped him reinforce his own brand image. One could even wonder if this was a part of his media and PR plan all along!
In the modern state of a distorted and fragmented media, anyone can become blogger, journalist and investigator. And this is what happened during the 2016 US election campaigns. The fragmented news accompanied by unverified facts pouring in from all side in combination with incomplete polls from the different sources kept the political gurus scratching their heads till the result declaration.
He raged a war online as well
Trump far surpassed Hillary when it comes to media promotions. Hillary didn’t even get a fraction of the coverage Donald Trump did over the last few months. Every kid in the block knew who Trump was and how “stupid” he could be. But nonetheless, they knew his name. Hillary had lost the fight even before the final debate in October and the media was sitting in denial. Trump’s social media plan was strong. He has a whopping 14.4 million followers on Twitter, while Hillary had 8.1 million only.
Leaners gave a false positive during exit polls
Denial can be a powerful drug, and no one has used it better than Trump in recent times. As a matter of fact, Trump had become such a craze that many blue collar workers voted for him but didn’t say that out loud during the exit polls. Something that is being called the “Bradley effect” in the political science circles presently. As a result, every exit poll that was conducted showed that Hillary will become the next president and that Trump is trailing behind. Combining this with the biased and usually fact-less hate messages directed towards Trump on social media made it really difficult for people to come to a sound conclusion.
Leaners and online election result prediction
It was made more difficult by the “leaners”. These are people who are Trump supporters but didn’t show their inclinations due to peer pressure till Trump was victorious. These “leaners” were highly active on twitter and Facebook on the evening of the election. This turned the tables drastically. Even on the morning of the Election Day, pro-Hillary Tweets were 75% and pro-Trump Tweets were 25%. As the day progresses, the “leaners” became more vocal and Trump was winning by a solid margin. They were quite a surprise element in the 2016 elections that kept analysts from making the right prediction.This could be because Trump has notoriously declared his hatred from Muslims, immigrants and disrespect towards women. Anyone supporting Trump could be treated as a social pariah at his workplace or community. Hence, these people kept their opinions and support under wraps till the day of the election. They either mislead the pre-election polls or didn’t participate.
All in all, this was one whacky election that has broken all assumptions, presumptions and theories about politics, voting and the people of America. It is time for a new government and new strategies that can predict the future of the country and its people.