There hasn’t been a lot of good news for President Donald Trump in the polls.
At least, not according to the mainstream media, which points out he’s losing to former Vice President Joe Biden in nearly all of them – and in some cases by double digits.
But the media, the pollsters, and all of the TV talking heads could be missing the big picture – because there are some positive signs for the president hidden in the latest data.
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That’s not the part getting the attention, of course.
Trump is down by 9.1 points overall, according to FiveThirtyEight, while RealClearPolitics has a slightly more optimistic deficit of 8.6 percent. One poll from Quinnipiac University even found Biden up by 15 points, 52-37.
“Yes, there’s still 16 weeks until Election Day, but this is a very unpleasant real time look at what the future could be for President Trump,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said in a widely quoted news release. “There is no upside, no silver lining, no encouraging trend hidden somewhere in this survey for the president.”
But hidden in the numbers of another very recent poll are two reasons for Trump and his supporters to feel that all’s not lost – because they suggest that the voters most likely to turn out at the ballot box for Trump in November … aren’t turning up in polls.
It’s what happened in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016, when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.
Now, a new survey hints that those voters are still out there – and still not captured in the polls.
The Monmouth University poll of Pennsylvania found Biden up by 13 in the Keystone State.
That might sound just as negative as the other polls, except for two key details.
First, Biden’s lead among “likely voters” in the state’s crucial swing counties are pretty much where Hillary Clinton’s lead was in the summer of 2016 – and we know how that turned out.
In fact, the poll finds that “Trump is doing slightly better now in core Clinton counties than four years ago.”
And second, the survey didn’t just ask people who they’d vote for.
They also asked who they thought would win the state and that lead to a very different answer.
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Suddenly, Biden’s massive lead is gone. On that question, Trump inched ahead, 46-45 (not far from his 48-47 win over Clinton in ’16).
The reason? “Secret” Trump voters.
The survey finds that 57 percent of Pennsylvanians believe there’s a large number of people in their communities who support Trump, but won’t admit it, not to their neighbors, and certainly not to pollsters.
“The media consistently reports that Biden is in the lead, but voters remember what happened in 2016,” Monmouth polling director Patrick Murray said in a news release. “The specter of a secret Trump vote looms large in 2020.”
It might seem a little unusual to ask voters who other people are voting for.
But that actually led to one of the most accurate polls of 2016, when the Trafalgar Group became one of the few to correctly have Trump ahead in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states most other pollsters thought were in the bag for Clinton.
Trafalgar Group found that asking people who they thought their neighbors were voting for revealed what they called the “shy Trump effect,” or people voting for Trump who won’t admit it to a pollster.
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And sure enough, that same organization’s most recent polls once again show the race deadlocked in the key swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin.
With a full 15 weeks before Election Day – and the conventions still to come – the race is expected to tighten even more, especially once the leaves change color. And a lot can happen between now and then.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert, and is the author of “America’s Final Warning.”