Common Sense Wins Again!

In Britain, anyway.

Pollsters took a deep dive into the British electorate soon after the Brexit vote, and came up with some interesting results. (Hat tip: Christopher Gage).

Instead of adhering to a British version of the all-too-familiar approach of polling here in America—which over and over asks voters to self-identify as Democrats, Republicans, or Independents—the pollsters in Britain asked whether the voters supported or opposed a list of topical policies and a list of more fundamental propositions. “Through a cluster analysis of the responses, we sorted the population into groups of those who share similar views, giving us eight political ‘tribes’.”

The two largest were the “Common Sense” and “Our Britain” tribes. Together those two totaled 50 percent. Common Sense was the largest at 26 percent. The study found that the members of the Common Sense tribe don’t think of themselves as having particularly strong political opinions, though they have a clear preference for low tax economy and opposition to immigration.

The Our Britain tribe was second largest at 24 percent. It shares many of the views of the Common Sense tribe such as opposition to immigration but is more nationalist and more political, corresponding perhaps to the more engaged MAGA portion of the coalition that elected Trump.

The tribes on the Left include the “Democratic Socialists” (8 percent), the “Progressives” (11 percent) and four others.

Remarkably, Britain today, like America, is a 50-50 country. That is reflected in how close the totals were in the Brexit vote and in Trump’s election. The study unpacked those vote totals to reveal the underlying concerns and allegiances that drove the vote in Britain.

Despite all the differences between America and Britain, the two largest tribes in the study evidently resemble in many ways the American voters who elected Trump. It seems possible that a study of this kind, done professionally and without a political ax to grind, might find surprisingly similar results here in America.

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