Popular wisdom suggests that at least twenty-five percent of any population will believe anything, and ever since his campaign began, Trump’s been successfully netting that 25-30 percent of the population — but not many more.
Or, rather, that’s what the leading polls suggest. According to a new study by Morning Consultant, a poll and market research company, those polls may be underestimating the Teflon Don’s chances.
The Shy Tory Factor
According to the analysis, Trump’s rhetoric is more popular with American conservatives than either liberals or conservatives would like to think. It started as an exploration into a particularly odd trend: Trump does better in online polls than in surveys by phone.
Now, online polls are notoriously inaccurate, but the difference is a full ten percent of the population — surveys online show nearly forty percent of GOP voters support Trump, as oppose to the one-third over the phone. That’s not a difference easily written off by trolls, especially when it appears across multiple polls.
To answer the question, Morning Consultant ran an experiment: They polled 2,397 Republican voters using three different methods to rule out various variables. They used a traditional telephone survey with live interviewers, an online survey, and an interactive dialing technique.
To eliminate any factors that could cause varying results, they randomly assigned people to three different approaches and ran all of them at the same time.
The polling director for Morning Consultant, Kyle Dropp, noted there was a huge difference in voters who support Trump when they have anonymity to hide behind — almost six points difference. Talking to a real human, according to the study, reduces the chance someone is willing to admit they support fascism.
The biggest shock, however, came they analyzed the populations involved. Blue-collar Republicans, who have been the core of Trump’s support, were consistent regardless of method.
It took anonymity to get the college educated Republicans to admit they support the Teflon Don, though — when given the anonymity of an online survey, this group’s support for Trump increased by a full nine points.
The reason for this should be obvious: Blue-collar Republicans — America’s lumpenproletariat — are proud of their support for Trump. Among collage-going Republicans, though, there’s a social desirability factor, and they hesitate to admit their support because Trump simply isn’t popular their social circles.
This is extremely similar to the “Shy Tory factor” that landed the conservatives in power in Britain back in the 1990s, and again earlier this year.
Since people have anonymity in the voting booth, it’s possible to logically conclude these results provide an accurate measure what people are going to do on election day.
Now, like I said, there are a huge amount of caveats to online polls — so much so that I wouldn’t trust their results. However, one thing is certain: According to Dropp, “It’s our sense that a lot of polls are under-reporting Trump’s overall support.”
Feature image via Flickr