Thursday, August 25, 2016

Secret Strength: Voters for Trump ashamed to admit it?

Sure. They should be. But there is no evidence to suggest that some surreptitious supporters will tip the scales for Trump.

Greg Sargent (Washingon Post/Plum Line) ridicules the ashamed voter theory: The Trump campaign has a secret plan to get out the secret pro-Trump vote. In secret states.

For some time now, Donald Trump’s advisers have sought to explain why he’s trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls by arguing that there’s a sizable group of people out there who will vote for him on election day but are too embarrassed to admit this to pollsters. Putting aside what that would say about Trump even if it were true, professional pollsters have treated the idea with skepticism.

But now new senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway has taken this theory to a new level in an interview with a British TV station. The interview has quite a few nuggets that are worth dwelling on, not simply for their entertainment value, but for the real insights they offer into how the Trump campaign views the race right now.

CNN has a transcript of the interview. The first claim features Conway explaining why there is this hidden Trump vote in a way I have not seen before:

“It’s become socially desirable — especially if you’re a college-educated person in the United States of America — to say that you’re against Donald Trump.

“The hidden Trump vote in this country is a very significant proposition,” she said.

Conway is certainly on the mark with respect to the college-educated voter but not for the reason she stated.

... when she says college educated voters support him but don’t want to admit it, she probably knows that in reality, we’re talking about college educated whites who need to be persuaded not just that supporting Trump is socially acceptable, but that Trump isn’t actually an unhinged hatemonger. These voters have to be won back, and probably won’t be in the numbers Trump needs, because he has branded himself indelibly among them with his mass deportations, Mexican wall, ban on Muslims, battle with the Khan family, and nonstop depravity and abusiveness.

It gets better when Conway is pressed by her interviewer on the dimensions of this secret pro-Trump vote:

“Have you been able to put a number on” those particular voters, asked Matt Frei, the interviewer.

“Yes,” Conway replied.

“What do you think it is?”

“I can’t discuss it.”

“Oh, come on,” Frei interjected.

But Conway declined. “No, it’s a project we’re doing internally. I call it the undercover Trump voter, but it’s real.”

No, it is not.

Here's the view from HuffPolster (via email).

TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER TURNS TO POLL TRUTHERISM - Igor Bobic: “Polling on the 2016 presidential race undercounts secret Donald Trump voters, the businessman’s newly minted campaign manager argued this week during an interview with the U.K.’s Channel 4. Kellyanne Conway, a respected pollster with decades of experience in Republican politics, dismissed polls showing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton comfortably in the lead by claiming they ‘cherry-picked polling numbers that are put out there by media outlets that are also bent on his destruction.’ ‘Donald Trump performs consistently better in online polling where a human being is not talking to another human being about what he or she may do in the election,’ Conway maintained in the interview that aired Wednesday…. Of the most recent 20 surveys of the race, not a single one shows him ahead ....as HuffPost’s Sam Stein and Ariel Edwards-Levy reported earlier this month, pollsters for both parties say there is little evidence to suggest that Trump voters are being seriously undercounted.” [HuffPost]

Perhaps Conway is too ashamed to admit that Trump is running behind and so has to resort to Trumpiness.

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