Is there really a silent majority out there?
Pollsters were in near unanimous agreement that Hillary Clinton would trounce Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
“The HuffPost presidential forecast model gives Democrat Hillary Clinton a 98.2 percent chance of winning the presidency. Republican Donald Trump has essentially no path to an Electoral College victory,” HuffPost wrote Nov. 7, 2016. “Clinton’s win will be substantial, but not overwhelming. The model projects that she’ll garner 323 electoral votes to Trump’s 215.”
Opposite. Trump won by a count of 304-227. (Write-ins picked up 7 electoral votes).
And again in 2020, pollsters say Democrat Joe Biden is well on his way to a landslide. He holds a hefty lead in the Real Clear Politics average of all nationwide polls (7.7%) and leads in every state deemed “swing” by the political website, most well outside of the margin of error.
But a new poll by Monmouth University finds that something else might be in play: Secret Trump voters.
“The media consistently reports that Biden is in the lead, but voters remember what happened in 2016. The specter of a secret Trump vote looms large in 2020,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
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. The suspicion that a secret Trump vote exists is slightly higher in swing counties (62%) and Clinton counties (61%) than in Trump counties (51%). The belief in a secret Biden vote is somewhat more prevalent in Trump counties (32%) than Clinton counties (23%) and swing counties (23%).
Democrats have won Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the presidential election for the last quarter century. But Trump beat Clinton in all three states in 2016 – narrowly, by just a combined total of 77,744 out of more than 13 million votes cast for the two candidates in the three states.
The July 9-13 poll wasn’t all good news for Trump, showing that he trails Biden among registered voters 53-40. Among likely voters, Biden’s lead is smaller but still sizable, 52-42.
Both are doing well in “swing” counties that alternate between Democrat and Republican, the poll found.
“In four core Clinton counties, Biden holds a lead between 39 points (67% to 28% low turnout) and 42 points (68% to 26% high turnout). In 53 core Trump counties, the incumbent holds a lead between 20 points (58% to 38% high turnout) and 23 points (60% to 37% low turnout). Trump and Clinton won the cumulative vote in their respective core counties by 33 and 36 points in 2016,” Monmouth wrote.