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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 TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE.

“It is historically difficult to defeat an incumbent president, No. 1,” Steve Schmidt, a former adviser to Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOn The Money: GOP digs in on defending Trump tax cuts | Democrats bullish on raising minimum wage | Financial sector braces for Biden's consumer bureau pick No. 2 Senate Democrat says minimum wage can be increased with simple majority vote State-level Republicans wracked by division after Trump's loss 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 BidenDobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Should deficits matter any more? Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate 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 ClintonEverytown urges Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign over newly uncovered remarks Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed support on Facebook for violence against Democrats McConnell last spoke to Trump on Dec. 15 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.