Lion of the Blogosphere

Online polls and Trump

There’s an article in today’s NY Times about online polls.

Trump does a lot better in online polls compared to telephone polls. But Trump is the only candidate who is affected by the method of the poll. The theory posited in the article is that respondents are embarrassed to tell a human about their support for Trump because it’s politically incorrect. If that’s the case, then the online polls will more accurately predict private voting-booth behavior, although embarrassment about supporting Trump could hurt him in the non-private Iowa caucuses.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 27, 2015 at 9:26 am

Posted in Politics

18 Responses

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  1. The Iowa Democratic Caucus requires voters to publicly state their candidate. The Iowa Republican causus operates by secret ballot. As such, Trump will be fine.


    November 27, 2015 at 10:11 am

  2. I would think the discrepancy has less to do with embarrassed people on the phone, and more to do with the fact that there’s much more self-selection bias with people who do things like online political polls.


    November 27, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    • If Trump supporters are more motivated to take polls, maybe they are also more motivated to vote.

      However, telephone polls conducted by IVR were more pro-Trump than those conduced by humans.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 27, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      • Rassmussen is a robopoll and they have Trump at ~27%. Same as everybody else.

        Primary polling is hard and is subject to dramatic change just before the race. If Trump is still leading in the state polls the week before Iowa and NH, he’s got this. If he isn’t, he’s done.

        Otis the Sweaty

        November 27, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    • The bias in the phone polls is usually that they call a small number of pre-selected people. And you can totally tell what they want you to say.


      November 27, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    • Internet polls do indicate who has momentum.

      When Reuters’ tracking poll found Trump gained after Paris later polls using traditional methodologies had Trump again pulling ahead of Carson.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      November 27, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    • I agree. Ron Paul dominated online polls. Many Paul supporters support Trump now, and so that could be part of the reason that Trump does well in online polls.


      November 27, 2015 at 6:23 pm

  3. Any thoughts on Trump mocking that retard journalist?


    November 27, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    • Pure win.

      The journalist is a sh!t for backtracking on what HE wrote about the celebrating a-rabs of 9-11. The fact that he’s a tard doubles Trump’s victory.

      As to Lion’s post, it’s the “Bradley Effect” sort of here.

      Trump is winning this shit. He’s the smartest, the funniest, the shrewdest, and ironically he’s the most JEWISH! His daughter and grandkids are Jews and being New Yorker makes him talk and sound more Jewish than any other candidate except Bernie Sanders. I don’t care if he some ostentatious vulgarian/salesman or whatnot. We need a vulgarian at the helm right now!


      November 27, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      • I think you are right that there is some version of the Bradley Effect here, although I imagine pollsters have another name for it. People on the phone don’t want to be embarrassed to an actual human pollster. They know who you are after all, they called you.

        Mike Street Station

        November 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      • Jewish americans have a lot of admirable qualities but their politics isn’t one of them so I don’t think his supposed jewishness is much of an advertisement for his presidency.

        Lloyd Llewellyn

        November 27, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    • I figure it has no effect on his current supporters, but hurts him with the general electorate’s mushy middle. That doesn’t matter much in the primaries, but the cumulative effect of these brushups is beginning to worry me. Besides unnecessarily taking him off message, it represents a misreading of the public temper. They love it when Trump talks tough against people who deserve it (ISIS, the establishment, the media, border jumpers) but women and doe-eyed Christian types are going to think he’s a big meanie when he goes after persons the public isn’t angry at, like cripples. Yeah I know the cripple here was a news reporter, but the manner in which Trump mocked him put emphasis on him being a cripple rather than an unscrupulous MSM guy.


      November 27, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    • Why do people, even Lion readers, just assume what you hear in the news is true? PP shooter actually was a bank robbery gone wrong. Trump supposedly mocked a retard, turns out he has no idea who this guy is. Come on.

      Andrew E.

      November 27, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      • The police department is reporting that the bank robbery gone wrong thing was just a rumor.

        Apparently Trump did know of the retard journalist in the past, and in the video from the speech he does seem to be mocking the retard. He did the whole retard thing with his hands which is sort of an unmistakable gesture that can’t be confused with ordinary gestures and movements. I don’t know if kids these days still do it, but I remember we used to do it all the time in school back in the 90s to make fun of tards.


        November 27, 2015 at 8:15 pm

  4. I’ve read that Gallup is getting out of political opinion polling because of the problem of reliably reaching a random sample of people. Every conceivable way of reaching out to people to ask their opinion brings with it a sampling bias. Even if the information about Gallup getting out of political opinion polling is incorrect, the reasoning makes sense.

    Modern polling methods were developed at a time when everyone had a landline phone in their homes, there wasn’t a major issue with telemarketing or scams, most people even had their numbers listed in the phone books (!), and there wasn’t any other reliable method of reaching people fairly quickly. I’m old enough to remember when things were like this. If you called someone outside of working hours, they would answer. Call enough people and you get a random sample of the population.

    These days, if you call someone in the evening you are probably going to get an old person, probably also living in some small town/ backwater. There is no reliable method of reaching and getting a random sample of people to respond by internet/ text, and there is a problem with spam emails too.

    I ignore opinion polls these days. There may be some way to set up a website that asks the public questions, and blocks a response from a computer after that machine has sent in one response, or use some other anti-spamming method, but I assume there are people smarter than me working on the problem and they haven’t figured anything out yet.


    November 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

  5. One thing that is interesting about the online polls versus the internet polls is not only does Trump do much better in online polls, but Carson does much worse. The other candidates get much more similar numbers between online and phone polls.

    Re the actual primaries: I no longer think Trump can win Iowa. Iowa is made for Ted Cruz and lots of establishment Republicans will vote for Cruz to help stop Trump. What Trump needs is to finish as a strong 2nd in Iowa and then win NH.

    If Trump wins NH and follows it up with a win in SC, is there any chance the establishment rallies around Cruz as the only way to stop Trump?

    Ironically, Ben Carson is the only thing that gives the establishment hope in this cycle. The establishment candidates are polling at ~32%, so if they all consolidate behind Rubio that still isn’t enough to beat Cruz and Trump unless Ben Carson takes enough votes from each to keep them below the 32% threshhold.

    Otis the Sweaty

    November 27, 2015 at 7:37 pm

  6. According to Mr. Robot all elections are fixed.

    slithy toves

    November 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm

  7. Look at the massive crowds to show up for every one of Trump’s rally’s 3, sometimes 4 days a week all over the country. Trump is running away with this.

    Andrew E.

    November 27, 2015 at 10:33 pm

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