In the weeks before the presidential election my polling team conducted focus groups in seven swing states listening to voters talk about the decision that lay before them. At the same time, a poll of nearly thirty thousand Americans revealed more about the country that sent Donald Trump to the White House.
All my Ashcroft In America research is brought together in my new book, Hopes And Fears: Trump, Clinton, The Voters And The Future. My first aim is to help understand how the result came about – and, crucially, that the American people made their choice with their eyes wide open (a point that is unmistakable from remarks of our focus group participants, quoted throughout, as they weigh the two candidates’ virtues and flaws). I also explore the striking parallels with the UK’s Brexit referendum, including the voters’ need to balance change and risk, and widespread failure to understand that reasonable people might vote for an outcome that many thought unthinkable.
I also consider what the election tells us about the future: the different parts of the electorate, their competing outlooks and priorities, the divisions in American society and their implications for both Republicans and Democrats as they seek to maintain and expand their voting coalitions.
Above all, as with all my research, Hopes And Fears is a reminder that the voters are worth listening to. It is available to order now from Biteback Publishing.