Plutzer and Berkman are answering an interesting question. As they outline, there have been all sorts of articles in the Washington Post, the New York Times and on social media about regretful Trump voters. But is there really a significant wave of regret? The survey asks and the answer is no.
Respondents were presented with the same choices — Trump, Clinton, Stein, Johnson, someone else, or not vote at all. Of the 339 poll participants who originally voted for Trump, only 12 (3½ percent) said they would do something different.So all those WaPo and NYT articles about the fraying of the Trump coalition? Wishful thinking masking fake news.
Only three individuals (fewer than 1 percent of Trump voters) said that, could they go back in time, they would cast their vote for Clinton. Seven said they would vote for one of the minor-party candidates.
The survey isn't large enough to tell whether that defection of 3.5% would have made a difference. You have to know where the survey participants are from to know that answer. If those 12 defectors were in California and New York, then it wouldn't make a lick of difference.
The results of the survey don't surprise me. In my circle of friends and acquaintances, the percentage who are intensely interested in politics is relatively small. Perhaps only 20% want to talk about the election from a winner/loser perspective. But of those who do, most of the Trump supporters were reluctant in their vote but have since expressed pleasant surprise at his performance. Those who were Clinton supporters divide into two camps. A small percentage express regret that she lost. Most are simply outraged.
And that brings us to the the elephant, actually the Donkey, in the room. Why is the article one-sided? What were the results in the Clinton camp? How many of her supporters would now choose to have supported Trump? I can believe that it might be close to zero but I can also equally believe that there might have been defections from her to Trump, particularly among voters in the South and Midwest. I suspect Trump won the election with the least enthusiastic supporters ever. Sure, he does have a lot of very enthusiastic supporters, I am not denying that. But I do suspect that there were a great many who voted for him reluctantly as the least bad of the two alternatives. An unknown candidate with many questions versus a known candidate with a track record of corruption, incompetence and failure.
Did they simply not ask the Clinton supporters the same questions as the Trump supporters? Surveys are expensive to run. I would be surprised if they did not ask Clinton supporters whether they would still vote the same way. But if they did, why aren't they reporting the results. You would think if there were no defections, then that would be positive news they would want to report. If, on the other hand, there were significant defections from Clinton, as Democrats-with-bylines, that would be something you would expect them to hide.
The fact that they do not report on Clinton results leads to the speculation that while Trump might have had 3.5% defection among his supporters, perhaps Clinton had even more.
Kudos to the WaPo for reporting on this but it does give strong credence to those who feel they cannot trust the mainstream media. The Washington Post was earlier reporting a story of rapidly eroding support among Trumps supporters. They run a survey to find out and discover that there is no material erosion in support for Trump. They avoid reporting anything on Clinton leading to speculation that there might be more to the story than is being revealed.