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Don’t Believe the Polls…One Survey Explains Why There Should Be Healthy Skepticism

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

I don’t know what to tell you people. The polls are a mess again this year. And yes, there are shy Trump voters out there. If you thought the Left’s viscousness was terrible in 2016 was bad—and it was—these folks rioted in the streets all summer. They burned cities to the ground. Destroyed countless livelihoods with their looting and wanton arson. And they’re more than willing to doxx you and harass you in public. So, do you really want to publicly voice who you’re supporting? Given what we’ve seen all summer, and living in a liberal area, I’d just screw around with these so-called pollsters if they ever called me. 

Yet, one firm, CloudResearch, decided to simply look into the shy voter theory and asked a simple and general follow-up question in their survey: “Are you comfortable in truthfully disclosing the presidential candidate you intend to vote for in a telephone poll?” In September, they released their results which showed that “shy Trump voters” are again out there:

11.7% of Republicans say they would not report their true opinions about their preferred presidential candidate on telephone polls. 

In contrast, just 5.4% of Democrats say they’d be reluctant to share their true voting intentions — roughly half the number of Republicans reluctant to tell the truth on phone polls. 

10.5% of Independents fell into the “shy voter” category, just a percentage point lower than how Republicans react to phone polls.  

After asking about people expressing their true opinions on telephone calls, we then inquired about their preferred candidate. This ordering was important as we did not want to fall into the same trap as other pollsters who tend to lead with preference declarations. When we broke the responses down based on current Trump vs Biden supporters, we found the following:

10.1% of Trump supporters said they were likely to be untruthful on phone surveys — double the number of Biden supporters (5.1%) reticent to share their true intentions.

When respondents indicated that they were untruthful during polls, we followed up to confirm those responses, and then inquired as to why “shy voters” are concerned about sharing their voting intentions…

The firm added the top reasons for those being uncomfortable with the pollsters was due to “a lack of trust in phone polls as truly being anonymous., an apprehension to associate their phone numbers with recorded responses, fear that their responses will become public in some manner [no surprise], fear of reprisal and related detrimental impact to their financial, social, and family lives should their political opinions become publicly known, and a general dislike of phone polls.”

They also added, “Malicious intent to mislead polls due to general distrust of media and political pundits,” but noted that this was a very small sliver of their sample. 

We’re back to the same old games again, folks:

…our survey findings — that show a greater reluctance on the part of Republicans, Independents and Trump voters to disclose their opinions — should not be interpreted as outright lying. Rather, such reluctance seems to stem from a  lack of trust in the anonymity of polls and a fear of the consequences if their opinions were to become public.

The results could have implications in terms of the true accuracy of phone polls; if Republicans, Independents and supporters of Donald Trump (regardless of party affiliation) are less likely to participate in polls or accurately disclose the candidate they support, that inherently generates biased poll outcomes.

Given razor thin-margins in the swing states, such bias may have important consequences…

I mean, Joe Biden is not a lock in Pennsylvania. If he were truly leading by seven-to-ten points, it would be and the same goes for Florida. Biden cannot be up by that margin and having a lackluster performance in places like Miami-Dade, the most populous Democratic county in the state.  Trump and Biden are tied in that county. I don’t doubt that Biden will carry it, but probably not by the margins necessarily needed to win the state. And all the while polling firms are glossing over scores of Trump voters who are waiting in that tall grass

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