Frau Professor Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann was a legend in Germany for many decades. She advises all German Chancellors from Adenauer in the 1950th to Helmut Kohl in the 1990th, who wanted to know from her as early as possible what the Germans think and how they may vote.
She was a legend, called the Lydia from Lake Constance.
I had the privilege to have met her several times. She even asked me to become her liaison to than German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1985 – a kind offer I had to decline.
Watching the presidential elections 2016 in the USA I do remember the wisdoms of the founder and director of the Institut for Demoskopie Allensbach.
She told me again and again about her main research result she found during the check-up of 30 years of polls in Germany:
The Schweigespirale, or in English the Spiral of Silence.
The test she used is quite simple.
You sit in a car or train with a friend and he asks you:
Do you think Hillary will win or Trump?
Try the test at home yourself.
When the majority answers: “Hillary”, just read this.
What professor Noelle-Neumann found out, which now matters in the presidential elections in the US in 2016 is quite simple:
- The ordinary people like to follow the crowd, not be left alone or behind.
- Many insecure voters listen what the majority wants, tells, maybe vote and follow the majority, feeling quite comfortable. Like cows in a herd.
- In other words: when they (only) think that Hillary wins, they join and vote for her.
- This is a basic dynamic in democracies – like a wave.
- Bad news for Trump. As more and more Americans believe he will loose, more votes for her.
- Who wants to be a fan of a looser? (for sure not even Trump himself would vote for a loser ..)
So according to Noelle-Neumann the perceived (maybe) winner takes it all and will collect even more (un-decided) voters with him, better: with her in 2016.
Good news for Hillary: more will vote for her, because many think Trump will loose. The Spiral of Silence goes democratic in 2016 in the US.