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Lincoln Project Republican says polls undercount Trump support

One of the GOP founders of the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project said Wednesday that polls undercount the level of support that exists for President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE.

“It is historically difficult to defeat an incumbent president, No. 1,” Steve Schmidt, a former adviser to Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West Five takeaways from the Biden-Putin summit MORE (R-Ariz.), told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. “I suspect there is at least a point or two of undercount for Trump voters.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenObama: Ensuring democracy 'continues to work effectively' keeps me 'up at night' New Jersey landlords prohibited from asking potential tenants about criminal records Overnight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE has a healthy lead in national polls. Biden has smaller leads in most of the six core battleground states, although recent surveys have found the race is tightening.

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The president’s campaign has routinely dismissed polls showing Trump is behind, pointing to 2016, when most election analysts didn’t give him any chance of winning. Trump edged out Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Monica Lewinsky responds to viral HBO intern's mistake: 'It gets better' Virginia governor's race poses crucial test for GOP MORE in most of the battleground states and eked out victories in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, which had not gone for a GOP nominee in decades.

Trump’s campaign has attributed the bad polling in 2020 to the so-called shy Trump voter phenomenon. They say there are scores of voters who will not admit to pollsters they support the president, believing it could be socially problematic for them to do so.

The polling outlet Trafalgar Group, which was the only pollster to show Trump ahead in Michigan on Election Day in 2016, seeks to account for this so-called social desirability effect in its polls. The lead pollster there has told The Hill there are more “silent” Trump voters in 2020 than there were in 2016.

Trafalgar’s polls have shown a tighter race than what other pollsters have found. One of their recent surveys found Trump and Biden tied in Minnesota, a state Clinton won in 2016 that the Trump campaign insists is up for grabs in 2020.