…surprising thing is that you might expect loss-averse voters to be leery of taking a risk on an unpredictable outsider like Trump, since loss aversion often makes people cautious: offered the choice between five hundred dollars and a fifty per cent chance at a thousand dollars or nothing, most people take the sure thing. However, loss aversion promotes caution only when people are considering gains; once people have sustained losses, impulses change dramatically. Offered the choice between losing five hundred dollars and a fifty per cent chance of losing a thousand dollars or nothing, most people prefer to gamble—the opposite of what they did when presented with the chance to win a thousand dollars. As one study puts it, “People are willing to run huge risks to avert or recover losses.” In the real world, this is why people hold falling stocks, hoping for a rebound rather than cutting their losses, and it’s why they double down after losing a bet. For Trump’s voters, the Obama years have felt like a disaster. Taking a flyer on Trump actually starts to feel sensible.
James Surowiecki, “Losers!”, The New Yorker (6 & 13 June 2016), 42.