While many in the media have focused on national and swing-state polls showing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a significant lead over President Donald Trump, at least some in the cable news realm believe there is more to the story.
According to Fox News Channel’s Pete Hegseth, a suppressed level of Trump support not seen in the polls is “a real thing” that will surprise all the pundits in November when Trump is re-elected.
“You have the mob mentality”
Hegseth made his forecast during an interview with Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney on Thursday.
As America remains in a state of civil unrest and deep partisan division, he reasoned that a number of Trump supporters are laying low and not revealing their support out of fear for possible reprisal.
“In 2016, there was uncertainty around what level of support he had,” Hegseth said. “Trump supporters may have been tepid, but they weren’t afraid.”
Four years later, however, he argued that the political climate has changed considerably and there are new reasons for voters planning to support the president to keep their opinions to themselves.
“In 2020, when you have the mob mentality both online, in the workplace, on Facebook, in the streets, of course, you’re going to have lots of Trump supporters that are going to stay back and say, ‘Hey who I pulled the lever for in the ballot box is my decision and no one else needs to know that,'” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s a reality.”
“Ignore the polls right now”
Of course, Hegseth acknowledged that a Biden win in November is possible and stressed the importance of allowing voters to see the two candidates on the debate stage.
“There might be people that don’t love how COVID-19 has been handled in every way, they don’t love, you know, the clashes in the streets, so they are uncertain right now,” Hegseth conceded. “But when the contrast comes down to that month before the vote, and you say ‘do you support law enforcement or not … do you believe in borders or not, do you think we should, you know, go back to school or should we stay shuttered,’ I think the contrast will be so clear.”
With so many variables in play, he said Americans “should ignore the polls right now,” focusing on the fact that such results were similarly misleading ahead of Trump’s 2016 win.
While Hegseth might be in the minority, others — including Monmouth University pollsters — have cited the potential that Trump voters are being underrepresented in presidential surveys.
In the end, it will be up to the voters who actually cast a ballot on Election Day. As they did four years ago, the results could look much different than many political pundits might want to believe.