According to a report from the New York Times, supporters of Donald Trump believe he will prevail in November based upon a belief that there are hidden voters who are not being counted by pollsters.
Using the results of the 2016 election as their guiding light, GOP stalwarts and fans of the president think pollsters are getting it wrong because they believe some conservative supporters are too embarrassed to admit they will vote to give Trump four more years.
However, as the report notes, some Republican campaign consultants don't think that is the case and the president is truly in trouble.
As the Times' Jeremy Peters wrote, "The belief that Americans aren’t getting the real story about Mr. Trump’s chances for re-election has taken hold among many of his supporters. For Trump loyalists, it is an appealing story, and one with some validity: The news media, which largely failed to anticipate Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016, are undercounting his voters, many of whom are even more reluctant today than they were four years ago to declare themselves in his camp."
That belief, Peters wrote, is not grounded in the reality on the ground.
"The idea that there are substantial numbers of Trump voters who will emerge from hiding on Election Day, large enough to sway the outcome, is not supported by the latest public opinion research — or by a proper understanding of what happened in past elections where the voter surveys were off, said pollsters who work for Republican and Democratic candidates," he wrote, adding that more than one conservative campaign consultant agreed with his assessment.
“There are many people who are voting for Trump who are in environments where it’s politically untenable to admit it because he’s become so toxic,” explained GOP pollster Whit Ayres. “But I’m still not convinced that not telling your business associate or the people in your Rotary Club or the people in your country club is the same thing as not telling a pollster.”
David Winston, a pollster who works with Republicans, agreed.
“The idea that people lie, it’s an interesting theory, and it’s not like it’s completely off-the-wall,” he explained. “But it’s obviously a very complicated thing to try to prove because what do you do? Ask them, ‘Are you lying?’”
"While the effects of a hidden Trump vote are certainly overstated by the president’s allies, that does not mean that no evidence exists that polls are missing some of his voters," Peters conceded. "A small percentage of his support is probably being undercounted, and has been in the past, public opinion experts said. And in states like North Carolina, where the margin of victory could be narrow, the undercount could make a difference between a poll being right or wrong."
He then added that pollsters learned their lesson after the 2016 upset that saw Trump win the electoral college vote while losing the popular vote by three million.
"In any case, pollsters say they have corrected one of the biggest mistakes they made in 2016, when they failed to account for the high numbers of voters without college degrees who turned out, many of whom voted for Mr. Trump," he wrote before adding, "And they are including a larger pool of possible voters in surveys — not just people who say they are likely to vote, as pollsters often do — because they anticipate historic turnout."
You can read more details here.