The 2016 election clearly left an impression on Pennsylvania voters — and right now, they’re apparently downright skittish.
A new Monmouth poll shows presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a 13-point lead in Pennsylvania, making it yet another swing state with good polling news for the former VP. But it also seems that most Pennsylvanians are skeptical.
A majority (57%) believe there’s a constituency of “secret Trump voters.”
These people believe there are a number of so-called secret voters in their communities who support President Donald Trump but won’t tell anyone about it, as Monmouth puts it.
“The media consistently reports that Biden is in the lead, but voters remember what happened in 2016,” said Monmouth’s polling director, Patrick Murray. “The specter of a secret Trump vote looms large in 2020.”
Consider Trump’s shock victory in 2016. Ahead of Election Day, polling consistently showed Democrat Hillary Clinton with a single-digit lead — yet Trump won the state (albeit very narrowly, by 0.7 percentage point).
The idea of “secret voters” is not entirely farfetched. In the aftermath of Trump’s 2016 win, one study suggested “that people who kept their vote a secret overwhelmingly voted for Trump.”
One of the study’s authors, Michael Slepian, explained: “According to the research, people were concerned that voicing their political support would create conflicts and arguments with those around them. They also expressed concern that if they revealed who they actually voted for, their reputation would suffer.
“It was this second motivation — concern for one’s reputation — that made people’s secret votes particularly burdensome. When people were more concerned for their reputation, they were more likely to ruminate on the secret. In short, they felt disingenuous in their interactions with others.”
The Point: “Secret Trump voters” sounds strange, but most Pennsylvanians believe they are very real.
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