When I spoke with the Associated Press (AP)’s London Bureau Chief Gregory Katz about two weeks before the vote on BREXIT, the British exit from the European Union, he noted that in recent days, for the first time, public polls were showing a trend putting the vote to Leave ahead of the vote to Stay. But, he noted, Britain’s bookmakers didn’t believe it, and continued to post longer odds on Leave.
Katz himself, like most of the media, most of the so-called intelligentsia, thought the bookies had it right. It was just inconceivable, given the credible, “expert” warnings that leaving the E.U. would impose huge economic costs on the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, not to mention international isolation and disapproval, that voters would choose to leap out of Europe. Especially with the value of the pound dropping as the BREXIUT vote drew near.
Well, now we know how wrong all those prognostications were. By a margin of much more than a million votes out of almost 34 million cast, 52 percent to 48 percent, Leave won.
How come? My guess: in a U.K. almost as economically unequal as the U.S., a majority of voters felt, “to Hell with those warnings – what have I got to lose?”
Or as one New York Times analyst summed it up: for voters who feel left behind by globalization and the rapid social changes that have come with it, a vote to leave the European Union can feel like a vote to restore Britain to its former greatness.
Here’s another bit of Marash guesswork. Amanda Taub chose those last words carefully, to create an American echo.
“Make America Great Again.” That’s the central idea behind the Donald Trump Presidential campaign. Of course, the meaning of that idea, to conjure up another echo, “depends on what the meaning of “great” is.
To me, America’s greatness has always depended on the diversity of its population and their willingness to welcome a Darwinian self-selection of the world’s most ambitious people. To Trump, Great America will flourish by discouraging diversity, and banning not welcoming wannabe Americans of Mexican or Syrian or Afghan descent or Muslim faith. And who knows if the list of excludables will stop there?
Our guest today, renowned American pollster, strategic planner and marketing adviser John Zogby traces his ancestry to the Levant, the part of the Middle East currently awash in conflict, war and refugees, although it is his brother James who has achieved a similar eminence for his polling of people in that part of the world, and whom I’m proud to say, has been a guest on HERE & THERE to tell us what his polling has revealed about the present and future of the Middle East.
I’m equally proud to say John Zogby has been with us before, detailing with some prescience what Millennial voters would do in the elections of 2014.
“Britain Votes to Leave E.U.; Cameron Plans to Step Down” – The New York Times
“E.U. Referendum: After the ‘Brexit’ Vote” – The New York Times