Thursday, July 16, 2020


This poll was released yesterday:
Joe Biden holds a 13 point lead over Donald Trump among all registered voters in Pennsylvania according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. Among likely voters, the Democrat has an edge of 7 to 10 points depending on the expected turnout level. Biden is also ahead in key swing counties, which include the region of his birthplace.
Good news! However:
Despite the challenger’s poll lead, voters are evenly divided on who they think will win the Keystone State’s electoral votes this year as a majority believe that their communities hold a number of “secret Trump voters.”

... Most registered voters (54%) say they were surprised in 2016 when Trump ended up winning Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. They are evenly divided on whether they expect Trump (46%) or Biden (45%) to win the commonwealth this time around. One reason for this seems to be that most voters (57%) believe there are a number of so-called secret voters in their communities who support Trump but won’t tell anyone about it. Less than half that number (27%) believe there are secret voters for Biden.
At right-wing sites, I occasionally read comments from people saying that they would never talk to a pollster from the hated mainstream media. But if there are many Trump voters who think this way, why haven't the president and his surrogates gotten word to them that they should cooperate with any pollster who contacts them, in order to get Trump's numbers up? Do they really think it's helpful for Trump to look like a big loser? And isn't it making his aides' lives miserable when the polls are so bad that they have to spend all their time cheering Trump up and persuading him that he's likely to win again?
As Trump’s re-election campaign has struggled to tear down former Vice President Joe Biden with less than four months until Election Day, the president’s staff has devoted considerable resources to finding novel ways to make him feel better about the crumbling world around him.

They tell him tales of his sagging poll numbers being fake. They’ve concocted ways of convincing him that the adoring crowds he loves on the campaign trail are still there and ready. They’ve pledged that the social, racial, and economic crises ravaging the nation are ephemeral. And they’ve carried his water as he seeks to reassert his authority over situations falling beyond his control.
If there's a large bloc of secret Trump voters, Trump should be telling them -- maybe even from the Rose Garden, since he's turned that into a platform for his campaign -- "If the fake news calls you and wants you to take a poll, don't hang up, even though it's the fake news. Tell them how great you think I am. Make 'em crazy."

But there's no reason to believe in the existence of this secret voting bloc. Pollsters have made adjustments since 2016 to take account of which groups they might have overlooked -- they know there could be a strong Trump vote this year. The polls in 2018 were quite accurate. No secret red wave ever emerged. If pollsters aren't seeing it this year, it probably doesn't exist.

Many things -- signs of a COVID-19 vaccine, stumbles by Joe Biden, Republican (or Russian) electoral shenanigans -- could still return Trump to office. But secret voters won't. Trump's campaign knows that, even if the public doesn't.

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