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Donald Trump polls a lot better online than in phone interviews

Technically Incorrect: What does it tell us about the election -- and about humanity -- when some people don't even want to admit out loud they're Trump supporters? Or is there something else going on?

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


trump98.jpg

Does he have secret admirers?

CBS/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, enjoys emitting his invective out loud. Via his mouth, quite often.

However, as The New York Times reports, this may not be the same with his supporters.

It seems that in phone interviews, they're more reluctant to admit he's their man than when they're asked online. Hillary Clinton enjoys a four-point lead in online surveys, but a nine-point advantage when polling is done by phone.

Pollsters seem to agree that if an issue is controversial, (something approximating) the truth is far more likely to appear in online questioning.

Naturally, the Times concludes that some of Trump's stated beliefs, which teeter into areas such as xenophobia and isolationism, are viscerally appealing to many who wouldn't admit it in public.

Moreover, the anonymity offered by the online world far more closely resembles the voting booth than a chat on the phone.

Given that the American voting system is skewed in such a way as to make a few states the deciders in elections, perhaps the only polls worth listening to are the ones conducted online in those states.

I wonder, though, if it's all quite so clear.

The anonymity of the online world also gives us an opportunity to be whoever we want to be. We can be our "real" selves, but we can also fake it too.

Pretending is so much easier online, as the proliferation of online scams has shown. You can be anybody you want to be. You can be anyone you wish you could be.

You can criticize, vilify and express the most nauseating views without any sanction. You can also tease and fool others to your delight.

Should we therefore conclude that those who are answering online surveys are somehow more honest?

Or could we also decide that they're more bored? Might they feel far more free to answer in whichever way they see fit, because it's quite fun to look at a screen in absolute privacy and, well, play?

Humans are really twisted. Polls are artificially conclusive.

How many times have you been asked what you're going to do about something and you answer one way, knowing that you likely won't act according to your own answer?

When people go to the polls, they're confronted not with questions from a person or a computer, but with their own true conscience.

I fancy there's no predicting what their conscience will tell them this time around. If they bother going to the polls at all, that is.

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