Robert Cahaly, senior strategist for the Trafalgar Group, made a name for himself in 2016 by being the only pollster to correctly show Donald Trump with a lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania — two key states he carried — heading into Election Day. (He did not poll Wisconsin, another surprising win for Trump.) Cahaly also showed Trump ahead in North Carolina and Florida, both of which he won, securing his improbable 304-227 Electoral College victory over Hillary Clinton.
Cahaly managed to pick up support for Trump that all other pollsters missed by employing a unique method that sought to measure support from voters who been “inactive” in recent election cycles, as well as adding a question to his surveys designed to isolate the affect of social desirability bias among Trump voters – the concept that people won’t tell pollsters their true intentions for fear of being stigmatized or being politically incorrect.
After asking voters who they were supporting in 2016, the pollster followed up by asking them who they thought their neighbors were supporting, Trump or Clinton. Cahaly consistently found a high degree of variance between who respondents said they were voting for and who they thought their neighbors were voting for, suggesting there was in fact a “shy Trump effect” at play.