Why Trump Shocks The World (Again)

Zachary Livernash

Trump at a rally in Erie, PA

Every four years, the United States has a presidential election and this year we are in another presidential election. Every single day, we get closer and closer to see who will be our commander and chief for the next four years. This election seems like a very easy one to predict as most polls according to Real Clear Politics is showing that President Trump is on pace to lose reelection this cycle, but the polls this cycle may be missing a bigger picture on what is truly happening in Middle America (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin etc). According to polls from the polling aggregate Real Clear Politics, Trump is down in most polls and down by wide margins, there is very well an extremely silent group of voters who won’t say who they’re voting for and trends in states for party registration suggest Trump is doing great in states he needs to carry.

In the United States of America, there is a large group of people who are completely silent about  what they’re political views are. This is proven according to a poll conducted by the Cato Institute and YouGov which states that “A new Cato Institute/​YouGov national survey of 2,000 Americans finds that 62% of Americans say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive…. Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share.­­” This poll has a 25 percent gap between republicans and democrats which indicates people who lean more Republican might hang up the phone when a pollster calls or even flat out lies about who they are supporting. The reason for this is because there have been plenty of stories of Trump supporters getting harassed in public for supporting Trump. 

According to the Party Registration statistics of government websites in North Carolina, Florida and the critical swing state of Pennsylvania Republicans have made massive gains in party affiliation in counties that Trump either won by a large margin or didn’t win. This is massive for Donald Trump as this is showing that in the three key states he needs to win to have just enough electoral votes, Republicans have grown Trump’s voting base in those 3 states in places like Rural North Carolina, Central Florida and even in the city of Philadelphia to name a few places. This is big as if trump can just keep his 2016 coalition of white working class people and expand a bit with the groups republicans made gains with, Trump will carry the 3 states he needs to carry to win the election.

There is however, a valid counter argument to all of these claims in particular with the polls. When you look at the 2016 polls according to Real Clear Politics they were actually basically spot on nationally according to Gallup and just had misfires at the state level. You can make the argument that if you apply the same error to 2020 polls Trump would still be down 6 points nationally, a bit too much of a hill to climb for Trump to win at that point. But there is a massive issue with this logic. While yes the polls may seem terrible for Trump when you compare to 2016, comparing polls from 2016 to 2020 is really a bad idea. The reason for this is very simple, polls done in between each cycle have usually different ways then past cycles of polling. And some pollsters are not polling this cycle while new polls are polling this cycle when they never polled before.

If you look purely at polls and nothing else, Trump may be getting wiped out based on polls and has 0 chance to win. But when you look at data like Registration in states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, etc. it all points to Trump winning enough electoral votes to win reelection. And the polls this cycle are missing a chunk of Trump’s base that very well influences the polls. It is up to you if you want to listen to hard nose data or a possibly flawed system that doesn’t account for what is truly happening on the ground.