Does Voter Anger Drive Trump’s Popularity?

John Sides, in The Washington Post, asks whether voter anger is behind the Trump and Sanders surges.

“The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll included two questions that gauged voters’ views of the political system. The first was ‘Do you think most people in politics can or cannot be trusted?’ The vast majority, 72 percent said ‘cannot be trusted,’ and 48 percent felt that way strongly.”

“The second question was ‘Do you think the current political system in the United States is basically functional or basically dysfunctional?’ Most people, 64 percent, said ‘basically dysfunctional’ and 46 percent felt that way strongly.”

“These two questions may not be tapping ‘anger,’ exactly, but they do get at people’s dissatisfaction and sense of separation from the political system.  Let’s combine these two questions into an overall measure I’ll call — for lack of a better term — ‘dissatisfaction with politics.’”

“The graph below shows how dissatisfaction is correlated with support for Trump and Sanders, to a lesser extent Carson, but not Fiorina.  Here I’m comparing people who exhibited below-average and above-average levels of dissatisfaction.”

“Now here comes the big caveat: … Does political dissatisfaction actually cause people to support candidates like Trump or Sanders? It’s hard to know.”

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