New study puts power behind ‘secret’ voters in perspective… and it’s not good news for Dems

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You know those polls that keep saying President Trump has got a battle ahead in 2020, with some of the Democrat candidates polling ahead of him? Well, there’s now confirmation that Trump’s secret weapon is, in fact, a segment of secret voters, according to a study about to be released.

Researchers found 1000 2016 voters “who secretly voted for someone other than whom they publicly claimed to have voted for.” By a two-to-one margin, secretive voters cast ballots in favor of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton … 53 percent of these secret voters voted for Trump, while 27 percent voted for Clinton. Another 19 percent voted for a third party candidate.

The pollsters believe the 2020 election could deliver more of the same, given the sharp political divisiveness throughout the population.

The study is set to be published shortly in the social science journal Motivational Science, as reported by Yahoo News. “Motivated Secrecy: Politics, Relationships, and Regrets” is co-authored by Michael Slepian and Rachel McDonald of Columbia Business School, Jessica Salerno of Arizona State University, and Katharine Greenaway of the University of Melbourne.

Fear, guilt, and regret are potential reasons for hiding one’s true political views from those around them, according to the authors of the study.

“Trump voters were more concerned about their reputation than Clinton supporters,” Slepian told Yahoo News. They were mindful of the “reputational implications of supporting Trump” among certain groups and environs. Concern for being affiliated with some of Trump’s more objectionable statements as reported by the media, as well as being labeled xenophobic or white supremacist because of the mainstream media’s portrayal of the President.

“Guilt or regret was something we saw our participants express,” Slepian said, and the study found that “the more conservative” the study’s participants, “the less they regretted keeping their vote secret.”

Clinton supporters reportedly had a different regret: “Liberal participants may have wished that they voiced their support for Clinton in advance of the election,” the authors state.

Hiding votes from family was the likeliest reason for those keeping their preference to themselves. Yahoo referenced a 2017 article in MEL Magazine, saying:

There have been many accounts of a spouse discovering that his or her loved one is a Trump supporter. In 2017, a woman wrote in MEL Magazine of learning that her husband, who claimed to have voted for libertarian candidate Johnson, had actually voted for Trump. The woman, a sexual assault survivor, was horrified.

“It was like being punched in the gut. I was so flabbergasted, so hurt, so betrayed,” she wrote, explaining a little later that Trump “embodies everything I stand against and everything we don’t want our children to be.” She concluded that article by describing how she was coming to terms with her husband’s decision to vote for Trump.

Slepian said that many Trump supporters feared “getting in arguments with people and creating conflicts with those around them,” electing instead to keep quiet, and possibly going online to find support that may be lacking within their immediate community of personal contacts.

The secret-voter phenomenon is seen as a variation of what in political circles is called the “Bradley Effect.” Newsweek explained it, “The Bradley effect is named after Tom Bradley, the former Los Angeles mayor who, in 1982, narrowly lost a bid to become California’s governor after having led substantially in the polls. The same pattern reflected itself in other instances involving African-American candidates: Douglas Wilder underperformed his polling in 1989 (but still narrowly won the Virginia governor’s race), as did David Dinkins in the New York mayoral race that same year. The theory goes that, in these races, white voters wanted to appear politically correct by telling pollsters they were going to vote for a black candidate when, in fact, they were not prepared to do so.”

Shortly before the 2016 election, Glenn Beck was one of the few who said that he did not trust opinion polls that were saying Clinton would win by a large margin. He cited the Bradley Effect.

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Victor Rantala


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