A recent IBD/TIPP poll found something that appears to confirm the idea that there are lots of Trump supporters out there who won’t admit it to pollsters.
“Overall, 20% of registered voters say they’re uncomfortable revealing their preferred candidate, but that rises to 28% among independents,” it found.
That’s a shockingly high number and one that should worry anybody who expects Trump to get trounced in November.
Think about it: Which candidate are people likely to be uncomfortable revealing their preference for? The candidate who is being heralded as Mr. Empathy and the savior of the nation? Or the candidate who is universally described – in the press anyway – as a racist, xenophobic, dictatorial, dangerous lunatic?
Biden’s supporters have no reason to fear revealing their preference because they don’t have to fear being shamed or hounded or booed or yelled at.
It also found that among registered independents, “24% say they agree with Trump on some issues but are reluctant to admit that in public.”
So, it stands to reason that a large portion of that 28% of independents are secret Trump supporters.
Another indication that “shy” Trump voters is a real phenomenon: the same poll found that more people are undecided now (10%) than a year ago (4%), and almost all the increase in undecideds came from the Biden side.
Still more evidence comes from a widely cited Cato Institute survey, which found that an astonishing 77% of conservatives said they were afraid to share their political beliefs because of the reaction they’d get. Among liberals, only 52% felt this way.
Yet the press continues to bury its head in the sand and pretend that this phenomenon is one made up by Trump and his backers to help them cope with Biden’s lead in the polls.
CNN ran a story recently titled “Shy Trump voters are likely a myth.”
The New York Times published a lengthy article telling readers that while hidden Trump voters “exist” the idea “that there are substantial numbers of Trump voters who will emerge from hiding on Election Day, large enough to sway the outcome, is not supported by the latest public opinion research — or by a proper understanding of what happened in past elections where the voter surveys were off, said pollsters who work for Republican and Democratic candidates.”
What evidence does the Times provide to back that claim? Nothing. Just speculation and assertions along the lines of: “it would be a huge leap to conclude that the country’s tense political dynamics are causing people to lie to pollsters in large enough numbers to explain Mr. Trump’s poor standing” and “the effects of a hidden Trump vote are certainly overstated by the president’s allies.”
In fact, the only evidence the Times does marshal supports the idea that there a lot of Trump voters who won’t admit it.
At one point it cites David Winston, a pollster who works with congressional Republicans, who says that if voters were afraid of voicing their support for Trump you’d see “an uptick in the percentage of undecided voters rather than a rise in support for Mr. Biden.” In other words, just what the IBD/TIPP poll found.
Then the Times goes on to cite the work of Mitt Romney’s presidential pollster Neil Newhouse, who found that 35% of Trump voters in 2016 said they were unwilling to talk about their vote, and that up to a third of voters polled in Iowa and North Carolina said they knew someone who wouldn’t tell anyone but their closest friends that they were voting for Trump.
Newhouse also turned up the most concrete evidence that Trump backers lie to pollsters. He found that Trump did 2%-3% better in phone surveys taken in 2016 when the respondents could make their selection by pressing a button rather than talking to a person.
Over the ensuing four years, the hostility toward Trump and anyone who supports him has only grown more intense, which means that more people are likely reluctant to share their views with pollsters, no matter how often the pollster claims their responses are strictly anonymous.
We are not ones to try to predict an election, certainly not this one. But we will go out on a limb and predict that President Donald Trump does better than the polls suggest. For the simple reason that many likely Trump voters are too afraid to admit it to anybody.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board