Douglas Andrews / September 21, 2022

The Return of the Shy Trump Voter?

While mainstream pollsters appear poised to blow it once again, one maverick who got it right in 2016 sees history repeating itself.

The “shy” Trump voter that made utter fools of all the mainstream pollsters in 2016 is likely to be even more shy during the 2022 midterm election cycle. So says Atlanta-based pollster Robert Cahaly of the Trafalgar Group, who rose to prominence six years ago when he stood practically alone among pollsters in predicting a tight presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“In 2016,” tweeted Cahaly, “Trump supporters were called ‘Deplorables’ and other unflattering names. This was a major contributor to the ‘shy Trump voter’ phenomenon that ‘most’ polling missed which resulted in a major loss in public confidence for polling [following] the election.”

As for those foolish mainstream pollsters, four of them — McClatchey, Monmouth, NBC News, and Fox News — had Hillary up by double digits in the days leading up to the election, poised to win in a landslide. McClatchey, for Pete’s sake, had Donald Trump polling at just 33 percent.

They were all wrong, of course, and their colossal wrongness infected the foolish talkingheads who believed them. To see just how wrong they were, to see a spectacular case study in groupthink, we might take a trip down memory lane (if you’re in a hurry, skip ahead to the 5:00 mark to revisit Barack Obama’s one-of-a-kind faceplant):

There it was, and, says, Cahaly, here it comes again. Even though Trump isn’t on the ballot this year, the Democrats have made it seem as though he is. And with Joe Biden and the mainstream media having so thoroughly and viciously demonized one-half of the American electorate, we might well be seeing an even more pronounced example of Republican voters’ unwillingness to share their beliefs with strangers. As Cahaly continues:

In 2020 people who supported Trump or espoused conservative values out of step with “Woke” culture found themselves being “canceled” or “doxed.” This led to “hidden voters” that “most” polling under counted, therefore Trump support in key battleground states exceeded expectations. …

I call this new group “submerged voters.” They aren’t putting stickers on their cars, signs in their yards, posting their opinions, or even answering polls. At this point I think it’s fair to say that Biden’s pursuit of and attacks on “MAGA Republicans” has created an army of voters who will be virtually impossible to poll (even for us) and more difficult still to estimate.

It’s hard to know whether these voters represent a silent majority or even a plurality, but Cahaly is so convinced of the existence of this phenomenon that he believes even his own polling will understate it.

Which means we shouldn’t believe a word we hear from the mainstream pollsters between now and November 8. Instead, we should simply commit to getting out to the polls and casting our votes as if the republic depends on it. Because it does.

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