Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Will “Secret Trump Voters” Swing The 2020 Election?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 28, 2020

All matters of politics, policy and governance aside, yes, aside, what this matter speaks to is the lack of authenticity and lack of veracity of polling techniques. And mathematically, that is problematic.

Oh, perhaps you’re not interested in math, you may say.

“He told me that they fundamentally undercounted the Trump vote;
that the Trump voter is not a voter in every single election,
that they come out for Trump,
so they’re hard to count.”

Roaches come out when you turn off the light.
Turn it on and they scatter.

Very well, then… move along, move along – there’s nothing here to see.

But, it’s not the first time we’ve heard that “voice crying in the wilderness,” per se.

Former CIA Intelligence Analyst now Congressional Representative Alyssia Slotkin, who represents Michigan’s 8th Congressional District as a Democrat has said that,

“Listen, if anyone tells me they can accurately predict what major events are coming in the remainder of 2020, I’ll give them a thousand dollars. I mean, this has been the year of black swans. I don’t for one minute think this [presidential] race is safe in anyone’s column. I’ve been literally begging people to ignore those polls. They are a snapshot in time. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have no idea what’s coming next.”

“I think they’re inaccurate. Here’s the thing. When I started to run and I had to hire a pollster, I interviewed a bunch of different folks and I decided to do what we do sometimes at the Pentagon, which is to take a ‘bad cop’ approach to the interview. It was five or six folks that I interviewed, and I said, ‘You got something wrong. You screwed up in 2016. What did you get wrong? And how are you going to fix it?’”

“He told me that they fundamentally undercounted the Trump vote; that the Trump voter is not a voter in every single election, that they come out for Trump, so they’re hard to count. On a survey, if someone says, ‘I’m not sure I’m going to vote,’ you don’t usually continue the conversation. And some of them didn’t have any desire to be on those poll calls; they didn’t have the 20 minutes to talk to somebody. They didn’t want to do it. And so, they were fundamentally undercounted.”

“I believe that same thing is happening right now.”

Essentially, what she has identified is the proverbial “Secret Trump Voter.”

And quite unlike Dr. Seuss’ fictitious “Snuffleupagus,” the “Secret Trump Voter” exists.

They refuse to self-identify.

Following are a few examples that do identify them – insofar as identification may occur – which is to say, they’re identified as existing… and that’s about all.

In a story published by NPR Wednesday, August 26, they visited 5 voting families in New Mexico, and Arizona, states which are predicted to be “battlegrounds,” meaning that the historically Republican-voting Arizona may swing for the Democrats this time, in the Senate, and in the Presidential race, while New Mexico, which Democrats won in 2016 with 48.26%, may not vote similarly this go ’round.

The voters they spoke with were diverse, and included young couples with children, extended families, the elderly, professionals, working-class, entrepreneurs, Native American, Hispanic, Anglo, Democrats, Republicans, and Independent voters. But the point is, they all voted in the last Presidential election in 2016, and they’re all planning on voting in this year’s Presidential election.

“The Shy Trump Voter”

One of the people interviewed was identified only as “Mary Jean,” who was aged 70, is a retiree widowed in July, and “spent her career in media and marketing, living in a few different big cities, including Los Angeles and Manhattan. She and her husband moved to Arizona years ago for work, then retired there.”

At the beginning of the portion of the story about her, NPR wrote that,

NPR is not using Mary Jean’s last name because
she fears retribution for her political views.
For the same reason,
she did not want to be photographed for this story.”

The final two sentences of the portion about her read, “Mary Jean is a registered Democrat, but she voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and plans to again this year. She supports his positions on immigration and believes he’s an effective champion for law and order.”

RealClearPolitics reported that Trafalgar Group, owned by pollster Robert Cahaly, which was the only polling group in 2016 to show Donald Trump winning the state of Michigan, in June with the first poll in this election cycle, using the same methodology, but with an enhanced system to identify likely voters, showed Biden ahead of Trump by one point, 46%-45%.

However, that gap closed and reversed in the August response, with Trump slightly leading with 46.6% to Biden’s 45.2%.

Moreover, Cahaly continues to see signs of the “shy” or “reluctant” Trump voter among the people. Known as the “social desirability bias,” it refers to the effect of respondents who do not tell the truth about for whom they will vote, because they think their choice will be considered unfavorably by others, including by those who are conducting the survey.

And, in a phone interview, Cahaly said that the social desirability bias he is seeing is “worse than it was four years ago.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 – Jonathan Easley of The Hill reported that “Lincoln Project Republican says polls undercount Trump support” which detailed historical observations in conjunction with anecdotal observations, combined with a polling group that correctly “predicted” Trump’s Michigan win, as evidence for a November victory.

One of the GOP founders of the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project said Wednesday that polls undercount the level of support that exists for President Trump.

“It is historically difficult to defeat an incumbent president, No. 1,” Steve Schmidt, a former adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. “I suspect there is at least a point or two of undercount for Trump voters.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a healthy lead in national polls. Biden has smaller leads in most of the six core battleground states, although recent surveys have found the race is tightening.

The president’s campaign has routinely dismissed polls showing Trump is behind, pointing to 2016, when most election analysts didn’t give him any chance of winning. Trump edged out Democrat Hillary Clinton in most of the battleground states and eked out victories in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, which had not gone for a GOP nominee in decades.

Trump’s campaign has attributed the bad polling in 2020 to the so-called shy Trump voter phenomenon. They say there are scores of voters who will not admit to pollsters they support the president, believing it could be socially problematic for them to do so.

The polling outlet Trafalgar Group, which was the only pollster to show Trump ahead in Michigan on Election Day in 2016, seeks to account for this so-called social desirability effect in its polls. The lead pollster there has told The Hill there are more “silent” Trump voters in 2020 than there were in 2016.

Trafalgar’s polls have shown a tighter race than what other pollsters have found. One of their recent surveys found Trump and Biden tied in Minnesota, a state Clinton won in 2016 that the Trump campaign insists is up for grabs in 2020.


But whoah up, there, podner… some are calling your hand on the matter.

This Friday, August 28, David Nir, writing for Daily Kos Elections, noted that “Trafalgar’s approach didn’t fare all that well two years later. In the dozen polls the firm made public in the last two weeks before the 2018 midterms, nine were too favorable to the GOP, including one that predicted Republican Brian Kemp would win the Georgia governor’s race by 12 points (he prevailed by just 1 point). On average, Trafalgar missed by 5 points and outright called three races incorrectly, including the contests for Senate in Arizona and both Senate and governor in Nevada.”

To bolster that opinion, that Trafalgar’s research is skewed, and off-kilter, Nir quoted NYT writer Nate Cohn who on July 29 wrote in part that, “…it is hard to reconcile these data with the idea that Republicans, as a group, are systematically understated. Mr. Trump’s problem wasn’t the number of people who said they voted for him last time: It was that only 86 percent of those who said they voted for him last time said they would do so again. Perhaps there’s a way the poll could have the right number of voters who said they voted for Mr. Trump last time, but not this time. It would have to be an awfully specific form of polling error.”

And the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the professional group to which public opinion and polling research professionals belong, wasn’t much help either, and pointed to “Real change in vote preference during the final week or so of the campaign,” and once again, to the fact that “some Trump voters who participated in pre-election polls did not reveal themselves as Trump voters until after the election, and they outnumbered late-revealing Clinton voters.”

And once again, the “shy” Trump voter reappears.

But in an August 17 piece for HuffPost Politics, Ariel Edwards-Levy concluded dismissively that, “Polls are neither a guaranteed forecast of what’s going to happen nor a pinpoint-precise measurement of what people think now. They are, however, a pretty good gauge for the basic state of an election at the time they’re taken. And though all surveys are inherently subject to some degree of uncertainty and error, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that Trump voters lying to pollsters is a major source of it.”

Maybe it’s like dinosaurs.

We know they existed, for we find their bones.

Other than that, there’s not much which we conclusively agree upon about them.

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