The Great Donald Trump Polling Gap, Not Explained

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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.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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