Shy Trump voters, pollsters, and the appeal to ignorance

Shy Trump voters are, by definition, hidden. Many are people who rarely answer calls or texts from numbers they don’t recognize. These voters are very real but quite invisible to pollsters. Some shy Trump voters are willing to participate in some public opinion surveys, yet remain reluctant to level with pollsters. A recent IBD/TIPP poll found the following: “Overall, 20% of registered voters say they’re uncomfortable revealing their preferred candidate.” This isn’t the only survey to reveal such reticence. A recent Cato Institute poll found that the reluctance of conservatives to share their political views has increased from 70 percent to 77 percent since 2017…

Are October 2020 polls that purport to show former Vice President Biden ahead of President Trump significantly different than the mid-October 2016 surveys that indicated Hillary Clinton had all but won the election? For the comparable polls, there is little difference. The NBC/WSJ poll, for example, had Clinton up by 11 points on October 10, 2016. The NBC/WSJ poll showed Biden up by 11 points on October 12, 2020. Clinton was up by double digits in five polls between October 9 and October 16 of 2016. Biden has been up by double digits six times during the same seven-day period this year. At about this point in October 2016 Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers began their fatal decline.

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