Speed Reads

campaign 2016

Study: Donald Trump may have more support than polls suggest

After noticing that Donald Trump typically does better in polls conducted online compared with those done via telephone, Morning Consult, a polling and market research company, wanted to understand why that is and which polls are more accurate.

Online polls often show Trump with the backing of almost four-in-ten Republican voters, while phone surveys usually have him with the support of one-third or fewer, the Los Angeles Times reports. Morning Consult polled 2,397 potential Republican voters earlier this month, and the respondents either spoke with a live pollster on the phone, took an online survey, or received a phone call where they responded to recorded questions by hitting phone buttons.

Polling director Kyle Dropp said Morning Consult found that voters "are about 6 points more likely to support Trump when they're taking the poll online than when they're talking to a live interviewer." Dropp said that among blue-collar Republicans, the results were roughly the same regardless of method, but among college-educated Republicans, Trump did 9 points better in the online poll. Dropp believes that people with college educations could be "less likely to say they support him when they're talking to a live human" due to the social-desirability bias, or the tendency of people to want to keep unpopular opinions to themselves. "It's our sense that a lot of polls are under-reporting Trump's overall support," he told the Times.