David M Rothschild on Posted on

On Wednesday, October 26 we used the MSN daily opt-in poll to learn more about so-called “Shy Trump Voters”. The question is whether some Trump supporters are embarrassed to tell pollsters that they support Republican nominee Donald Trump. So, he may over-perform on Election Day with those people conformable to cast a secret ballot but mislead pollsters. The technical term for this is social desirability bias, where respondents tell the pollster what they think the pollster or society wants to hear. The evidence from traditional polls is that there may have been some of this in the primary election, but not in the general election. We see evidence that some Trump voters may be a little more embarrassed to tell people they are voting for Trump, but no evidence this will actually lead to Trump beating the polls on Election Day.

The poll was five questions long (along with four demographic question) and taken by 11,653 respondents. Everything we show below is modeled and post-stratified with bleeding-edge techniques:

Who do you support for president? Democrat Hillary Clinton 52%, Republican Donald Trump 46%, and Another candidate/Not Sure 2%. This is largely in-line with the national polling from traditional poling, but with a slightly lower third party/not sure.

Which underdog is more likely to prevail? Donald Trump 14% and Cleveland Indians 86%. Trump may win, but with the Indians now up 3-1 (they were 1-1 when this question was asked), crowd did OK with this one!

Will Trump TV be a product by the end of 2016? 56% say no, but that means 44% of voters think Trump is going to build that TV station to capitalize on the election.

Are you ever embarrassed to tell friends/family who you support for president? Overall, 14% said yet, but most important here the breakdown by vote choice: 8% of Clinton supporters said they were, but 10% of Trump supporters said they were, and whopping 24% of respondents supporting either third party candidates or unsure.

Which candidate is more likely to over-perform polling averages? Here we have 88% of Trump supporters saying Trump and 89% of Clinton supporters saying Clinton, and 53% of respondents supporting either third party candidates or unsure pointing to Clinton.

What this all means is that Trump supporters are stating that they are slightly more embarrassed to tell people about their support for Trump, but the difference is small and not-significant. Further, I was surprised to see that there was not increased confidence in the Trump supporters of over-performing the polling, something you may hear from people know others who are lying about their support. Breaking down the data further, people who are embarrassed to tell their friends and family about their support are tied 50% each over whether Trump or Clinton will over-perform the polls.

Of course, there is a complicating factor in the difference between voting and polls. The Clinton team has a larger get-out-the-vote operation that could counter any bump Trump gets from shy supporters. And, of course, we are still waiting to see if the polls are able to incorporate any fall-out from FBI Director Comey’s October 28 letter to Congress and any November surprises.