To put these polls in context, they were all taken from a small sample of websites on August 9th 2016. Whether or not one believes in the validity of ‘unscientific’ polls conducted anonymously over the internet, it is an interesting phenomenon. This is especially true considering that democrats have recently held a strong lead over the younger vote which I would assume is more likely to vote in online a poll. There are two explanations that come to mind:
- The Bernie Effect
It is hard to deny the level of enthusiasm for the runner-up candidate Bernie Sanders. A large portion of his supporters were (are) younger voters that respond to his numerous calls for ‘free’ college and student loan restructuring. Although he has made calls for unity in the national election, many of his former devotees may be yawning at the prospect of voting for the entrenched candidate that they see in Hillary Clinton. This enthusiasm gap is also represented in a number of polls. Taking into account the large number of supporters that Sanders accrued and the questions swirling about vote tabulations and super delegates still in the air, a large number of democrats may be less than excited about their candidate.
- The Bradly Effect
According to Wikipedia, “The Bradley effect (less commonly the Wilder effect) is a theory concerning observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some United States government elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. The theory proposes that some voters who intend to vote for the white candidate would nonetheless tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for the non-white candidate. It was named after Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor’s race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections.”
Although this is not the same situation (an argument could be made that the media and Trump’s detractors have created an environment that would stereotype Trump voters and thus create a Bradly type effect) it is comparable because it highlights the important relationship between anonymity and truthfulness.