Pollsters and Trump: Third Time's a Charm?

May 23, 2023

From Sean J. Miller at Campaigns & Elections:

The 2024 cycle will most likely feature a rare historical occurrence in modern campaigns: a major party candidate running for president for the third time who, unlike traditional perennial types, actually has a shot at winning the GOP nomination.

The good thing for pollsters is that they’ve seen this play out before and some practitioners feel confident, despite earlier misfires, that they’ll be able to better predict the makeup of the electorate.

“I expect 2024 to be a pretty good year for polling,” said Ethan Smith, founder of the newly launched Upswing Research & Strategy.

In previous cycles when the former president ran, pollsters had trouble getting responses from Trump supporters. Researchers have pointed to a variety of reasons for that low- or non-response rate, but one baseline factor is that it’s easier to poll voters who are more politically engaged.

Trump supporters, like many of President Obama’s voters, only turnout for him. “That makes it hard for us,” said Smith, who spent nearly a decade at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQR) before officially hanging his own shingle this week. “Capturing that in surveys is a challenge.”

But the challenge for pollsters doesn’t begin and end with Trump supporters. In fact, the former president’s impact on the electorate also translates to Democrats and Independents who are more motivated to vote in primaries and general elections when he’s on the ballot, according to Smith.

Read the full article at Campaigns & Elections.