"Shy" Trump voters buoy GOP hopes while pollsters doubt they matter

There are three main reasons why experts in both parties doubt shy Trump voters will factor heavily in November.

First, pollsters say they didn’t take voters’ education level into proper account in 2016. They believe that was a mistake. By including too many college-educated voters, who disproportionately supported Clinton, they produced polls that missed the strength of Trump’s blue-collar support. A post-election autopsy by the American Association for Public Opinion Research confirmed that pollsters failed to predict the winner because they underestimated the number of non-college-educated voters in the Midwestern battleground states that produced Trump’s electoral college victory. But most pollsters now weight their polls by education level, eliminating this 2016 blind spot.

A second reason is that Trump voters are simply no longer shy. “‘Shy’ is generally not a characteristic of a Trump voter,” says John Anazolone, pollster for Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign. Indeed, the AAPOR study found little difference in support for Trump between anonymous online polls and telephone polls conducted by live operators, with whom Trump-leaning respondents were believed to be coy. Either way, today’s Trump supporters tend to be out and proud. Polls regularly show that more than 90% of Republicans support Trump and do so with greater intensity than Democrats support Joe Biden.