A new survey tackles rising speculation that voters might not be fully honest while sharing their opinions when polled by phone.
Shy Voters and What That Means
Debates about whether or not the presidential polls are accurate have been intensifying as of late, with many speculating that the 2020 election could be a repeat of the 2016 election despite what the polling data shows. There’s been little to no evidence that voters haven’t been sharing their “true” opinions on phone polls, although if they weren’t – the impact could be significant.
CloudResearch created a new survey in a different form that instead asks voters the question of whether or not they are comfortable “truthfully disclosing the presidential candidate you intend to vote for,” later including open-ended follow-up questions to discover and understand what leads people to lie in phone polls.
From the survey, 11.7% of Republicans said that they would not share their true opinions about their preferred candidate, with Democrats and Independents coming in at 5.4% and 10.5% respectively. The question was then changed to Trump vs Biden supporters, with 10.1% of Trump supporters saying they likely would be untruthful on phone polls, and 5.1% Biden supporters saying the same.
Then came the real question – why are “shy voters” concerned about sharing their real thoughts and opinions? The survey shows six major concerns that seem to be shared by many: a lack of trust for phone polls being anonymous, a dislike of phone polls, fear of reprisal, fear of potential association of opinion to phone number, as well as intent to mislead polls due to disliking/distrusting the media and political pundits.
So what does all of this mean? For one, the survey confirms that many voters do indeed hide their true opinions when being polled by phone. That, by itself, leads to the conclusion that polling about the presidential election might be much more inaccurate than it was thought. The effects it could have on the November election could be the same as what happened in 2016 for either side – despite Trump doing poorly on polls, a complete flip could happen, leading to a second win, or Biden could pull ahead even more.