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It’s happened before, several times in UK parliamentary history, most notably in the last elections. The Conservatives won a surprise clear majority when polls stated otherwise. Same, too, with John Major in the ’90s. There is an attraction of the conservative vote for “shy conservatives” – people who are afraid to admit in public that they will vote conservative, but in the privacy of a voting booth, will mark that cross so.

It could be the same for Trump. Playing on issues aligning with phobias and strong biases is actually something that can attune with people who don’t self-critically analyse their beliefs. We are, as a species, intuitively phobic. We otherise anyone and everyone because it was useful to distrust outsiders in our evolutionary past. The desire to appease and work for the in-group is still (according to political psychologists like Haidt) the hallmark of the conservative voter. People may well publicly shun Trump, and this might reflect in polls, but in reality, in the privacy of that booth, they might give in to those deeply rooted biases.

The latest CNBC poll has Clinton stretching to a double-digit lead, but this could be misleading. BBC Radio 5Live were in the US last week for some daily reporting, and I was amazed at the sheer volume of support for Trump. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the final vote was far, far closer than the polls suggest. Trump is himself bragging that he is confident of a victory:

He repeated the claim in a Wednesday interview with CNN: “I actually think we’re winning,” he said. “I don’t even think it’s a question of we’re going to try and win. You start looking at the polls, what’s happening, and more importantly start looking at all the people going to vote and sending in their ballots.

“We’re way ahead on virtually every state and every area, and I think we’re going to have a great victory.”

Who knows? Thoughts below, please.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...