It’s not that I trust or lack trust in phone polls. It is that whenever a recording, or live person that says she is conducting a poll, I consider it an invasion of my privacy and hang up in mid-sentence. IF, I answer the phone at all!
A new study from CloudResearch reveals that 11.7% of Republicans won’t admit their political preferences to pollsters – which is more than twice the number of Democrats at just 5.4%.
CloudResearch also found that “10.5% of Independents fell into the “shy voter” category, just a percentage point lower than how Republicans react to phone polls.”
When asked why they wouldn’t be truthful in their responses, “shy” respondents cited six concerns:
- 1. A lack of trust in phone polls as truly being anonymous.
- 2. An apprehension to associate their phone numbers with recorded responses.
- 3. Fear that their responses will become public in some manner.
- 4. Fear of reprisal and related detrimental impact to their financial, social, and family lives should their political opinions become publicly known.
- 5. A general dislike of phone polls.
- 6. Malicious intent to mislead polls due to general distrust of media and political pundits (though a sentiment expressed only by a few “shy voters”).
Specifically, the following explanations were given:
- “I don’t believe the information would be confidential and I think it’s dangerous to express an opinion outside of the current liberal viewpoint.”
- “Well I probably wouldn’t give my opinion period, but if pushed, I would not give my real opinion for fear of reprisal if someone found out.”
- “Because most polls released to the public are slanted and aren’t scientifically based. So, they are messing with the results of the survey from the beginning by knocking down one party or the other. I’m just trying to right the ship.”
- “My answers could be recorded so I don’t really trust such phone conversations.”
- “I do not discuss politics — let alone with a total stranger on the telephone.”
- “I don’t always trust phone call surveys. I wouldn’t want to be bombarded with phone calls and political mail.”
- “I don’t want my opinion associated with my phone number.”
- “I am less anonymous, and somewhat ashamed of my opinion as it is frowned upon.”
CloudResearch also found that the reluctance to give honest answers should not be interpreted as outright lying – rather, they are an indication of a lack of trust in the anonymity of polls, as well as a fear of reprisal if their opinions were to become public.
- The results could have implications in terms of the true accuracy of phone polls; if Republicans, Independents and supporters of Donald Trump (regardless of party affiliation) are less likely to participate in polls or accurately disclose the candidate they support, that inherently generates biased poll outcomes.
- Given razor thin-margins in the swing states, such bias may have important consequences, although more research is required to fully understand the potential magnitude of this effect. We intend to examine the magnitude of “shy-voter bias” in specific states like Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin over the coming weeks. –CloudResearch
And who can blame the silent majority – with Trump supporters having been actively targeted with violence and harassment in restaurants, at their homes, and walking in public.
So – between egregious oversampling of Democrats by polling companies, and Republicans won won’t admit to supporting Trump, it’s no wonder the polls have been dead wrong since 2016.