How are pollsters accounting for the "too embarrassed to admit I voted for Trump" effect?

This is a GQ, possibly devolving into a GD, but I thought Elections was the best fit.

My understanding is that pollsters believe that part of the reason they were wrong about 2016 was that Trump voters were too embarrassed to admit they voted for him(and wow does that say a lot). Have any pollsters discussed how they are changing their prediction methods to reflect that phenomenon?

I believe that would amount to experimenter error.

the national polls were not wrong, they predicted Clinton would win popular vote and she did.

State polls are harder since the sample sizes are not as big and some of them were off . If they are “wrong” within the margin of error that is not something that can be fixed except for having a smaller margin of error - and that means a bigger sample which drives up the cost.

The Trump supporters I see on TV (I know none in real life) don’t seem the least bit embarrassed to admit it. Others might, I suppose, but if they are embarrassed about doing it, they probably should refrain.

I suspect that a supporter of anything, no matter how crazy, whom you see on TV saying they are a supporter of that thing are not embarrassed about it. That gives no indication of how many supporters are embarrassed to admit it and therefore embarrassed to be on TV.

That doesn’t make sense to me because Trump supporters have shown themselves to be anything but shy. In fact, they have shown themselves to be defiantly loyal and loud in the face of overwhelming and justified criticism of their dubious hero.

You’re referring to a variation of the Bradley effect. Basically, it’s hard to tell how much of a phenomenon this really is and if it’s really significant, so there’s not much adjustment that’s made for it yet. If anything, a polling organization might just conclude that their results can not be as precise and increase their margin of error based on actual results.

That group is a minority among people who actually voted for Trump.

There are many people who held their noses and reluctantly voted for Trump because they genuinely thought Hillary was just that much worse.

It make perfect sense because, though they were loud, they did not actually seem to be a large enough crowd to reach the number of votes Trump actually got. You are talking about the Trump supporters that actually publicly admitted that they supported him.

Or some of them voted for Trump because it is easier to put on a polite facade then to come out and admit that you are just as much self-serving racist asshole as he is.

I think the reference is to the investor class, people who have done well in Trump’s Economy for the Uber-Rich, making tidy gains in the stock market and such. They are embarrassed by Trump but in the privacy of the voting booth, they’ll still vote for him. Because he makes them rich(er).

You could partially account for it (or at least detect it) by comparing the results of a poll conducted by a person to those conducted by a automated system. Presumably someone who is embarrassed about their vote would care less if it was being recorded by a computer.

I don’t know if “embarrassed” is the correct word. There does seem to have been a factor of “are you going to vote for Hillary, or are you a racist asshole” in 2016, and I don’t know if that has been compensated for in 2018. But we shall see.

This is a factor that gives me some hope for today’s elections. Usually the dominant party loses seats in the mid-terms. And Trump isn’t running, so all these elections are going to be either local, state-wide, or for Congress. OTOH it does appear to me that Republicans are more energized to vote today than usual, which may or may not counter the Democratic advantage.

You can’t tell from the reactions on the SDMB, of course, how the election will turn out. ISTM that most Dopers are basing their hopes on the idea that voters in 2018 will be as fanatically partisan as the Dope is all the time.

I am guessing the Dems will take back the House, and the GOP will gain one or two seats in the Senate, but I doubt a wave in either direction.


And of those, there were probably people who voted for Trump but didn’t want him to win. They incorrectly expected Hillary would get elected but didn’t want to sully their hands by voting for her.

with only 2 real choices there are always people who hold their nose and vote for the person running in their favorite party. I was one of them in 2016 . I was not really a Clinton fan but I voted for her knowing she was way better than Trump.

I absolutely believe that is the one and only reason Trump won Michigan. The final polls had convinced enough people they didn’t have to dirty their souls with a vote for her, so they voted 3rd or no party to clear conscience.

You’re all welcome to debate whether you think the effect is real, but just so you know I’m not just making this up, here’s a Scientific American article about it:

Voter Embarrassment about Trump Support May Have Messed Up Poll Predictions


That article is wrong because it starts with the premise that the polls were wrong. They weren’t.

The RCP average had Clinton +3.3. The actual result was Clinton +2.1. That’s well within the margin of error.

The shy Trumper effect, if it exists, is at most around 1%. This is swamped by the margin of error of typical polls.

I’m certain that this is a significant portion of Trump voters. Though they are not even close to self aware enough to ever consider that they may be self-serving, or racist, or assholes.

There’s also the factor of people flat out lying about it because a higher percentage of trump supporters are , let’s be honest about it, A-holes. They lie to the pollsters so that when the polls are wrong they can say: “See, you can’t trust the polls.”

Also, for the same general reason I think that liberal types are more likely to see participating in a poll as akin to the whole “civic duty” thing and, as such, might be over-represented.