Why did Republicans outperform the polls again? Two theories

2) Republicans, particularly college graduates, worry they will be ostracized for their political views.

But Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric and Republicans’ declining trust in societal institutions is probably not the whole story either. Polls of the 2018 midterm elections — held in the middle of Trump’s presidency — performed reasonably well. This indicates that something else may also have been at work.

One possible explanation? Republicans may be more likely to opt out of election polls because they increasingly fear retribution for their views. A Cato Institute/YouGov survey I helped conduct in July found, for instance, that 62 percent of Americans have political views they are afraid to share given the current political climate. Republicans were overwhelmingly likely to say they self-censored their political opinions (77 percent) compared with Democrats (52 percent).

Not only were many Republicans afraid to express their political opinions, but those with more education were also more likely than Democrats to say they feared getting fired or missing out on job opportunities if their opinions became known. Interestingly, Republicans with a high school education or less (27 percent) were about as likely as their Democratic counterparts (23 percent) to fear their political views could harm them at work. But Republicans with college degrees (40 percent) and post-graduate degrees (60 percent) were far more concerned than Democrats with college degrees (24 percent) and post-graduate degrees (25 percent) in this regard.