Democrats are taking comfort in the fact that polls show Joe Biden leading Donald Trump nationally and in some key battleground states.
They have already forgotten about four years ago.
And one pollster warned the polls were about to make this catastrophic error in 2020.
Four years ago pollsters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin missed Donald Trump’s victory because they undersampled non-college educated voters.
Arie Kapteyn runs the USC/Los Angeles Times poll and he is warning that pollsters are on the verge of another massive polling error.
But this time it’s not because pollsters are undersampling Trump supporters.
Kapteyn told POLITICO that Americans are hiding their true feelings about who they are voting for from pollsters because they are afraid that if they express their political views publicly they will lose their job or their friends will shun them.
To combat this, Kapteyn began asking respondents who they thought their friends and family were voting for since people know how those closest to them truly intend to vote.
POLITICO reports, “As an illustration, Kapteyn described what his team at USC sees in its polls. Beyond simply asking voters whether they support Biden or Trump, USC asks a “social-circle” question—“Who do you think your friends and neighbors will vote for?”—which some researchers believe makes it easier for people to share their true opinions without fear of being judged for their views.”
Kapteyn said when he asked this question Biden’s lead narrowed from ten points to five.
“We actually get a 10-point lead, nationally, for Biden over Trump” when asking voters who they personally plan to support, says Kapteyn. “But if you look at the ‘social-circle’ question, Biden only gets like a 5- or 6-point lead. … In general—and certainly on the phone—people may still be a little hesitant to say to that they’re Trump voters,” Kapteyn told POLITCIO.
Kapteyn said they tested this method during the 2016 election and it proved to be accurate.
In the interview with POLITICO Kapteyn explained that “We actually did a little experiment during the 2016 election: If you get called for a survey, and a live person asks who you’re going to vote for, do you answer that question differently than if you’d received the question in a letter and mailed it back, or answered the survey online.”
There is a track record that backs up this polling method.
In the 2018 midterms Kapteyn also used the social circle question in polling and found it to be more accurate than asking people who they intended to vote for.
A recent Pew poll found that over 60 percent of Americans are afraid to publicly air their political views.
The overwhelming majority of that number was conservatives.
Conservatives are afraid of liberals harassing them and forcing them out of their jobs like Firefox CEO Brandon Eich who was forced to resign after employees revolted when it came out that he supported California’s ban on homosexual marriage.
If what Kapteyn says is accurate and Americans are hiding their true voting intentions from the pollsters than the polling data that shows Joe Biden on track for victory is wrong and America is on the verge of another surprising election night.
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