So I conducted a Facebook experiment on the presidential election. Of course it’s not scientific or anything, but it does provide a window into how folks are thinking.
This was prompted by the palpable anxiety I feel from my social media timelines.
Here was the hypothetical deal I offered to my friends, of all political persuasions:
Biden wins the White House and the GOP holds the Senate. If you had the power to accept this today, would you?
Again, I’m not interested (for the purposes in this experiment) about hearing what you WANT to happen. I just want to know if you would take this deal today to ensure election day isn’t a total loss for your preferred candidate/party either way.
So, the results are in and they very interesting.
I had a Twitter follower suggest that D’s would be less likely to take this deal than R’s. That really wasn’t the case. About 70 percent of both D’s and R’s said they WOULD take the deal.
The primary reason appeared to be that they saw the deal as an insurance policy, so to speak, against the worst case scenario.
What’s surprising to me — and what I think my Twitter follower was getting at — is that Democrats are as nervous as Republicans about this outcome, even though the polling data is clearly favoring a “blue” result.
If you simply approach this as a statistical exercise, and use the excellent polling aggregation/statistical analysis site fivethirtyeight.com as a reference point, President Trump has barely a 1 in 10 chance of winning reelection and the Republicans have just a 1 in 4 chance of controlling the Senate.
A Vegas poker player would look at those odds and say to Democrats: LET IT RIDE!
Clearly D’s are suffering from 2016 PTSD and put a much higher priority on a Trump defeat than anything else. As one person wrote: “less productive result but at least we won’t have someone I view as incompetent, harmful, corrupt and embarrassing in the WH.” Another said: “I won’t be satisfied politically, but my anxiety levels will drop.”
Republican “yes” votes generally just seemed to want to avoid a wipeout: “because it beats losing Senate and the White House and holding the senate would mean agenda is slowed.”
Another observation — for the “no’s” it appeared to be difficult to separate what they WANT to happen from what will actually happen. The D and R “no’s” seemed to be coming more from a place of wanting total victory.
I only had a handful of those identifying as independent respond. One of them, however, succinctly summed up the limits of this experiment: “I’ll roll the dice and take it to the jury, the Voters, and trust democracy.”