Panelists take a closer look at what drove Trump's victory

By AZI PAYBARAH 11/09/16 03:36 PM EST

So what happened?

“Fuck if I know,” Democratic pollster Jefrey Pollock said bluntly Wednesday at the start of a panel discussion in midtown that served as a morning-after critique of Donald Trump's stunning victory over Hillary Clinton.

Pollock, who worked with a Super PAC that supported Clinton, said it's unlikely there were “hidden” Trump voters — people who voted for him who had never voted before. Rather, he said, Trump's win was more likely a combination of “shy Trump voters” — people who did not want to tell pollsters they planned to vote for the Republican nominee — and what's known as “response bias,” when voters simply do not participate when pollsters contact them, but show up to vote.

Other panelists at Wednesday event at the New York Midtown Hilton, which was convened by the Association for a Better New York, were Susan Del Percio, a Republican consultant who did not support Trump, Democratic U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, a Clinton surrogate, and Robert George, a member of the Daily News editorial board.

Jeffries said "economic anxiety” also played a role in Trump's victory. Specifically, he said, three economic fears drove the electorate: under employment, college costs and retirement insecurity.

“There is a real reason for the American people to have economic concerns,” he said.

When the discussion turned to Trump's supporters, George said his coalition was a mix of traditional Republican voters and a new voting bloc.

There was “a small but significant number of voters … who supported Barack Obama last time around and voted for Donald Trump this time around,” he said.

George, an African American, then asked, “What happens when white voters start acting like a minority? If they start doing that, they may start acting like a bloc. It’s not necessarily racist, but it does have a racial component.”

Pollock and Jeffries said one problem for Clinton was that some voters simply wanted change.

“Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders spoke in headlines," Jeffries said. By contrast, “Hillary Clinton spoke in fine print. You need a candidate prepared to recognize the mood and then speak, in headlines, to address that, and then obviously be prepared to govern.”

Beyond messaging, Clinton’s other mistake was emphasizing her experience, panelists said.

“I think Donald Trump effectively made that credentialism part of a corrupt, rigged system of insiders,” George said.

Pollock, who worked with the pro-Clinton super PAC, said he was surprised to find what voters were looking for.

"People were looking for a little danger and looking for a little risk," he said. "There were things that [Trump] said that were clearly dangerous but people said that’s the kind of danger that I’m interested in right now.”