Why is it that even small polling differences nationwide can lead to a massive difference in political representation?
The answer is that polling percentages don’t get automatically reflected — or, more accurately, balanced out — across an entire nation. If Republicans are favored 60-40 in every single individual race across the USA, then Republicans will win every one of those races, and the actual representation will end up 100-0 in Republican favor.
Spend some time thinking about how this applies to your negotiated agreements, and to the structure of your organisations and work groups more generally.
For example, it doesn’t take a room full of antagonistic negotiators to leave a possible deal in ruins. It may only take a simple majority, or even a single, vindictive negotiator who has undue influence over everyone else’s attitudes and modes of thinking.
And if every component of a negotiated deal leans just a little on the side of bad faith or distrust, then the sum of those parts could feel outright hostile, or read as a declaration of war.
Beyond the good versus bad dichotomy also lies the question of what values, frames, and thought patterns you are dealing with. Even if only one person in the room really cares about the screen size of the laptops you want to buy, if they can influence a majority of that room to value their opinion, the entire sales process may come to revolve around that single factor.
So don’t just estimate the popularity of others’ opinions and desires; pay attention to how that popularity will actually manifest in more tangible outcomes, and whether it is over- or under-represented.
With thanks to: FiveThirtyEight