Wednesday, February 28, 2024


I keep thinking about this. It's challenging some of my assumptions.

Filipkowski is right about FiveThirtyEight, which said Donald Trump was leading Nikki Haley in Michigan by 56.9 points. Right now, with 96% of the actual vote counted, Trump is leading Haley by 41.6 points.

There was a time when we talked about "shy Trump voters." It was believed that pollsters missed many of Trump's voters in 2016 (although the polls did show a late shift to Trump -- he was supposed to lose the popular vote by 3.2, according to the Real Clear Politics average, and he lost it by 2.1). If there were shy Trump voters, pollsters really seemed to miss them in 2020 -- Joe Biden was expected to beat Trump by 7.2, but he won the popular vote by only 4.5. It was theorized that some Trump voters have low "social trust," and thus were afraid to tell mainstream-media pollsters that they planned to vote for Trump, presumably because they feared that George Soros and the Deep State keep a list of Trump voters, or something like that.

But maybe the Trump voters aren't shy enough these days. Maybe they're now overrepresented in polls, either because pollsters are overcorrecting to include a disproportionate share of them, or because they're now more eager than other voters to tell pollsters how they plan to vote.

Obviously, Trump is cruising to victory in the Republican primaries. But there are pockets of resistance, as The Wall Street Journal notes:
Early results showed Haley did better than her statewide numbers with voters in places with large numbers of college-educated voters, including Washtenaw and Ingham counties, the homes of the University of Michigan and Michigan State. She also outperformed her state percentage in Oakland and Kent—big suburban counties with a higher percentage of college degrees than the state as a whole.

In previous contests in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Haley showed strength versus Trump with independents and moderates—the kinds of potential swing voters who could help decide the November contest against Biden.
I've been assuming that Haley's slight overperformance is the result of crossover voting by people who usually vote Democratic. But the fact that the polling average in Michigan was off by 15 points suggests that maybe there's more to it than that.

Trump leads Biden in the RCP polling average by 2 right now. Could it be that Trumpers are overrepresented in general-election polling, too? Could it be that high-school-educated MAGA voters are eagerly agreeing to be polled while college-educated right-centrist Trump skeptics aren't?

If so, maybe Biden isn't struggling as much as I've been imagining. I still think he needs to win the popular vote by 4 or 5 in order to win the Electoral College. But maybe that's not as much of a reach as I've been thinking it is.

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