A study released Monday by Morning Consult, a public opinion polling company, found that more people support the GOP presidential front-runner than would care to admit it.
Republican voters are far more likely to say they support Donald Trump if they are asked in an online poll, opposed to a live telephone interview, the study concludes.
“In other words, people are reluctant to select Trump when talking to another person because they do not believe it will be viewed as a socially acceptable decision,” the study reads.
The Morning Consult interviewed around 2,400 Republicans and varied how the respondents completed the survey. Some completed the survey completely online, while some completed the survey over the phone. The phone interviews were split further between a live interviewer and an automated voice response.
The study found that 38 percent of people who answered on the phone supported Trump, while just 32 percent chose him while on the phone with a live interviewer. An additional 36 percent chose Trump while completing the survey via an automated recording.
“That six point difference was not seen with other candidates between the different polling methods,” the study reads. “Ted Cruz, for example, did about 2 points better on live telephone, as did Ben Carson. Jeb Bush had no difference between the methods.”
Authors of the study explained the discrepancy as a “social desirability bias.” Basically, people identify with the things Trump says, but they don’t want to admit it because they don’t think their friends will like it.
“Trump is not the pick of the political pundits, and people intuitively get that,” the study’s authors wrote.
Currently, Trump is polling at 34 percent in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls. Ted Cruz, his closest competitor, is polling around 17 percent.
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