In 2016, Trump’s support was not accurately represented in the polls. Is there a decent chance this is happening now, asks BRIGHT editors this morning.
As columnist Inan Dogan pointed out in a recent piece, polls are typically relatively accurate except for under two circumstances: when poll respondents are hesitant to be truthful about their intentions, or when the outcome of an election depends on a single swing state like Pennsylvania. There is a significant chance that both of these circumstances are affecting the current polling, most of which show Biden in the lead but Trump having momentum.
For the last four years, the media has worked tirelessly to vilify the president and his supporters. As a result many Trump supporters are not vocal about their political leanings, even while speaking with pollsters. Many are embarrassed to admit they support Trump, while others fear losing friends over their political preferences. In my own neighborhood, people who put Trump signs in their yards regularly have their property damaged or vandalized. The message is clear: If you support Donald Trump, you will not be tolerated. And so many Trump supporters keep their mouths shut, and will simply make their voices heard in the voting booth. The extent of the president’s support under the surface is nearly impossible to measure.
When it comes to swing states like Pennsylvania, there is an abundance of evidence that Trump’s support is greater than the polls reflect. Perhaps most importantly, he regularly draws much larger crowds at campaign events than Biden does. This suggests the president’s base is passionate and mobilized to take the time and effort to vote. In a swing state that could be decided by just tens of thousands of votes, this can make all the difference.
Read our on the ground analysis of Trump-voter enthusiasm in Pennsylvania here.