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Trust in US Politics

"In general, do you trust other people?" You wouldn't think someone's answer to such an innocuous question would tell you much about their political views. But it does.

In fact, knowing whether someone thinks that other people can be trusted or not, known by social scientists as their level of “social trust”, is increasingly central to understanding the choices voters are making across the Western world. In this paper, we examine the variable of social trust as it is related to accurately capturing vote intention in pre-election polls of the 2020 US general election. Modelling social trust based on the American National Election Studies (ANES), we examine how this variable interacts across demographics, turnout, and vote intention. Ultimately, our research shows that high levels of social distrust played a role in the polling error in last year’s US presidential election and suggests that pollsters and researchers alike need to consider its influence moving forward.

Read the full report here