The Great Donald Trump Polling Gap, Not Explained

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Here’s something pretty interesting: It turns out that Donald Trump does significantly better in robocall and online polls than he does in traditional live-interview polls. Harry Enten shows the difference on the right. As Trump might say, it’s yuuuge: a full 10-point difference in the latest polling.

This is peculiar for several reasons. First, this gap didn’t really open up until September. Second, we never saw a gap of this size in 2012. Third, since Enten doesn’t mention this, I assume other 2016 candidates don’t show gaps anywhere near this big.

So what’s going on? Enten suggests a few reasons why non-live polls might be a bit less accurate, but in the end he doesn’t really know. And whatever the reason, why does it affect only Trump in a substantial way? This is very mysterious. And until people start voting, we don’t even know for sure which type of poll is more predictive. It’s just another way in which this year’s Republican primary is winning awards for all-time weirdness.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate