High Income Trump Supporters Less Likely to Express Support in Phone Polling

As the race heats up ahead of the U.S. presidential election, a new poll by Morning Consult found there is a group of high income Donald Trump supporters who are more likely to say they support him when asked online compared to phone polling.

The president has long maintained that there is a silent majority waiting in the wings to vote him in on election day.

Morning Consult found in a survey of more than 2,400 people, that Trump receives lower support when asked on the phone versus online among those making $75,000 or more each year. Meanwhile, Democratic hopeful Joe Biden receives higher support on the phone than online in the same income bracket.

"Shy" voters are those that are not forthcoming about which horse they will back.

When Morning Consult first looked at the "shy Trump voter" phenomenon in 2015, it found that Republican primary voters were 6 percentage points less likely to say they supported Donald Trump when interviewed on the phone compared with online.

However, by the time Trump was the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, that effect had vanished among registered voters.

In the 2020 poll, when taken together, differences between subgroups did not change the overall finding that President Donald Trump lagged behind Joe Biden by around 10 percentage points in both polling methods.

Biden has pulled ahead with 55 percent support to Trump's 45 percent among those who took the survey online, according to this poll.

The Democratic hopeful also received 56 percent support on the phone, while Trump's potential voters were polling at 44 percent.

The same poll looked at whether a "social desirability" bias means polls conducted online versus on the phone glean different results.

When asked whether they believed there was discrimination in the U.S. today against a range of races, religions and sexual orientations, voters were much more likely to say there is discrimination against these groups when they answered on the phone.

Joe Biden's polling lead is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton's advantage over President Donald Trump throughout the 2016 election cycle.

That advantage preceding her defeat has led to speculation over the possibility of a similar result this time round.

Despite the possibility of "shy" Trump voters, other polls have suggested that there are fewer undecided voters than last time, meaning that 2020 polling promises to be less volatile than the elections of 2016.

Other polls have suggested the existence of a "shy Biden" support base.

Yahoo News and YouGov data collected from September 9 to 11 showed the majority of Trump voters live in pro-Trump areas.

More than half—65 percent—of Trump voters said that all or most of their neighbors would vote for Trump. Just 5 percent of Trump voters say that all or most of their neighbors will vote for Biden.

Meanwhile, Biden's electorate tend to live in more politically diverse areas where a smaller proportion (44 percent) said all or most of their neighbors will vote Democrat.

Whether "shy" voters come out of the woodwork for either camp in time for election day or not, right now, Biden remains ahead of Trump in the majority of national polling.

FiveThirtyEight's poll tracker places him 6.7 points ahead, while Real Clear Politics' poll tracker puts him 6.5 points in the lead.

Donald Trump press
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press prior to his departure from the White House on September 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Polls suggest that Joe Biden is edging him ahead of the presidential election. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images