The Trafalgar Group was one of the few pollsters to predict former President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016. Although Robert Cahaly, the Atlanta, Georgia, based firm’s founder and chief strategist, incorrectly forecast a second Trump victory in 2020, his predictions of what the final results would look like in the battleground states came closer than any other pollster. For example, Cahaly predicted Trump would win Wisconsin by one point, a state he ultimately lost by 0.7. But mainstream pollsters had missed the mark by a wide margin. The average of polls on the eve of the election reported by 270toWin showed Biden would prevail in the state by 9.2 percent. You may recall the most ludicrous result of all, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released just days before the election, that showed Biden ahead by 17 points.
At any rate, the right-leaning pollster credits his accuracy to being able to identify the “shy Trump voter,” those who are afraid to admit their support of the reviled former president to a pollster. In recent media appearances, Cahaly has said the shy Trump voter has morphed into the “submerged Trump voter.”
During a weekend interview with Alpha News’ Liz Collin, Cahaly said submerged voters are “virtually impossible to poll. And we do better than most at finding kind of hidden vote like that. … But with these people, it’s different because they’re not being talked to at all. So, we can’t measure it, but we expect the Republicans turnout is going to be bigger than every poll.”
Cahaly attributes the emergence of the submerged Trump voter to the Biden administration’s condemnation of MAGA supporters as a threat to the country. “We found a lot of people who don’t want to participate in polls now. … At one time, they would put a sign in their yard or a bumper sticker on their car. Maybe they’d comment on social media or talk to their friends and take polls. They’re doing none of that now.”
In a mid-October interview with the Intelligencer, Cahaly expanded on this point. “A lot of people tell us, with what’s going on … Whether this is justified or not, I don’t know the answer, but their opinion is that — based on what they see on television, what they hear, and what they read — the FBI’s keeping track of what’s happening on social media,” he said. “They hear things like the government has told the bank to keep track of gun purchases. So, it’s not a jump in their mind to think that they might be keeping track of what people say in polls. And so, they’re saying, ‘We’re not taking them.’”
According to Cahaly, since Biden’s bizarre Sep. 1 “soul of the nation” speech, “we had six different people reach out to us with a screenshot of a poll or a recording of them talking to someone and asking, ‘Hey, is this you? I didn’t want to take it because I wasn’t sure, and I’m very nervous.’ In all the years we’ve been doing this, that’s never happened, and it happens six times since Biden’s speech? … Let me also clarify that, in every case, it was our poll. … But I think it’s a mind-set of a lot of quote-unquote ‘MAGA voters’ that somebody’s trying to keep track of [them].”
He continued: “In 2020, were there examples of pro-life activists having the FBI come to their house with guns and take people away? No. In 2020, were there examples of people who were willing to turn themselves in but had to go through an FBI-style raid on their homes? No. In 2020, did people think that the FBI was working with Facebook? No. In 2020, did the president of the United States say that MAGA supporters were a threat to America? No.”
None of what Cahaly is saying is difficult to believe. The Biden administration’s targeting of conservatives is real. Why risk drawing attention to yourself for the sake of a poll?
Even if this group represents a small percentage of Republican voters, If Cahaly is right, we just might see a bigger “red wave” than we already anticipate. And, in a close race, a one or two-point swing can decide the election.
A previous version of this article appeared in The Washington Examiner.
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