Too Shy: Voters Hold Back Opinions on Hot-Button Issues

A recent survey by the Cato Institute found that 62 percent of Americans self-censor their political views for fear of how others will react. Now, a new poll is backing that up. Morning Consult recently conducted a survey of voters via telephone and online to gauge opinions on key issues leading up to the election. The result was those surveyed over the phone were "hesitant to express their opinions on discrimination, protests, and personal finances" over those who answered online, according to the study authors.

"It's really surprising to see that as racial tensions are heightening in the United States, there is an unwillingness of folks completing a survey with a live interviewer to say whether there is or is not (racial) discrimination," says Robin Graziano, Director at Morning Consult and one of the survey's authors.

The phenomenon of the shy voter is not new. There has been other research showing that people aren't always honest with pollsters, especially on sensitive political topics. In this case, phone respondents tended to agree more with politically correct statements or positions. "Folks who completed the survey over the phone with a live interviewer are much more likely to report that there's discrimination across a variety of groups in the United States today, than those who took the survey online," says Graziano.

Interestingly, the Morning Consult poll did not find voters shy about stating who they plan to vote for in the upcoming election---including Trump voters. "Folks really weren't hesitant to tell phone interviewers any more than they were to self-report online that they'll be voting for the president," says Graziano. "So our data suggests that there aren't 'shy Trump voters' in the upcoming election."

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