Doublethink: 2017

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

― George Orwell1984

A University of Massachusetts professor conducted a poll on perceptions of turnout for the recent presidential inauguration based on political preference. This happened (via Monkey Cage):

On Sunday and Monday, we surveyed 1,388 American adults. We showed half of them a crowd picture from each inauguration (see below) and asked which was from Trump’s inauguration and which was from Obama’s.

If the past is any guide, we would expect that Trump supporters would be more likely to claim that the picture with the larger crowd was the one from Trump’s inauguration, as doing so would express and reinforce their support for him. Further, as some respondents had never seen these photos, uncertainty regarding the answer would likely lead them to choose the photograph that would be most in line with their partisan loyalties.

For the other half, we asked a very simple question with one clearly correct answer: “Which photo has more people?” Some of these people probably understood that the image on the left was from Trump’s inauguration and that the image on the right was from Obama’s, but admitting that there were more people in the image on the right would mean they were acknowledging that more people attended Obama’s inauguration.

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For the question about which image went with which inauguration, 41 percent of Trump supporters gave the wrong answer; that’s significantly more than the wrong answers given by 8 percent of Clinton voters and 21 percent of those who did not vote.

But what’s even more noteworthy is that 15 percent of people who voted for Trump told us that more people were in the image on the left — the photo from Trump’s inauguration — than the picture on the right. We got that answer from only 2 percent of Clinton voters and 3 percent of nonvoters.

Even when the photographic evidence was directly in front of them and the question was straightforward, one in seven Trump supporters gave the clearly false answer.

What can you say? We’re screwed.

 

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One thought on “Doublethink: 2017

  1. Pingback: From the ‘you knew this already’ file | Brobrubel's Blog

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