Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) November 27, 2016: A consortium of news-media outlets that includes ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, and the Associated Press pays a company to conduct exit polls. The company is Edison Research. Larry Rosin, a graduate of Princeton University and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, is the company's co-founder and president.
After the election Rosin published a remarkable piece at Edison Research's blog titled "The hidden group that won the election for Trump: Exit poll analysis from Edison Research" (dated November 15, 2016).
Rosin says, "While most voters did have a favorable view of one of the two major candidates, an astonishing 18% of the electorate told us they had an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And this is the group that won the election for Trump."
Rosin notes that "had those [voters] with a negative view of both candidates split evenly, Clinton would have won rather easily. However, . . . this 'Neithers' group broke strongly to Trump 49% to 29%."
According to Rosin, the "Neithers" group pushed Trump over Hillary in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, and North Carolina, providing him with his margin of victory in the battleground states.
As you may have surmised by now, Rosin says, "The 'Neithers' are more likely to be men (61%)" and white (78%).
But the exit polls also revealed something else about the "Neithers" group. Rosin says, "One of the most intriguing aspects of the "Neithers" is that a significant portion of those who were unfavorable to both Clinton and Trump were favorable to President Obama. Nearly half of those who didn't like either of this year's two major candidates do have a favorable view of President Obama -- and a significant portion of this group voted for Trump."
Unfortunately, the exit poll responses do not tell us how the "Neithers" voted in the 2012 presidential election.
Disclosure: No, I was not interviewed in an exit poll. But I had and still have unfavorable views of both Hillary and Trump, and a favorable view of President Obama. However, in my case, I viewed Hillary as the lesser of two evils, and so I voted for her.
Evidently, the "Neithers" did not like either Hillary or Trump much, but they tended to view Trump as the lesser of two evils.
Of course President Trump may shortly disabuse them of that impression.
However, because the "Neithers" didn't like him much, they may not be unhappy to be disabused of that impression about him.
In the meantime, we should note that Rosin's careful analysis of the exit-poll interviews has not received much attention from the news-media outlets who pooled their money to pay his company to conduct the exit interviews.