Why is Donald Trump so honest

US forecasts: "People are no longer willing to give honest information"

For a long time, the polls and forecasts said that Joe Biden has a 4-1 chance of beating Donald Trump. The Swiss data researcher Christoph Glauser and his team never believed these surveys. Glauser had already predicted Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, and in an interview with this newspaper in September he predicted Trump's re-election - contrary to the mainstream of researchers. His secret: Glauser evaluates all 247 million Internet users in the USA.

Wiener Zeitung: You said in September that your data also certify Trump a head start this time. In your opinion, the race has recently intensified, but with such a Trump success
few have calculated. Why were you right and why weren't the others right?

Christoph Glauser: The opinion pollers have to be credited with the fact that the current situation is really difficult. Americans have no experience of voting by post. Classic opinion polls thrive on asking people who come out of the bar and have just cast their vote. On the other hand, I think that the survey instrument has had its day. People are no longer willing to give honest information. In addition, many people in the USA vote for Trump who are secretly ashamed of it and do not stand by it when asked about it. In this sense, our evaluations of Internet searches are more exciting because they are unadulterated data.

You are addressing the phenomenon of the so-called silent voter, a voter who is silent about what he will vote for. The Republicans, however, claimed the silent voter for themselves in advance and said that their prognosis would point to a completely different result than the official polls. In the end, they were closer to the truth. Or did the Republicans act on the principle of hope and think: reality will follow suit?

The undecided have been better mobilized. Trump is a bit of a demagogue, of course, because what a lot of people picked up were his claims that Joe Biden is a Marxist and with him socialism is breaking out in America. Even if many in the USA don't know what that means exactly. They are far from the historical dimension of Marxism and socialism. They understand something completely different than if you were to ask people in Vienna about it, for example. But the argument worked. After all, even Latinos, blacks, and white workers passed it on as an opinion - claiming Joe Biden would establish a Marxist state in the United States.

The classic surveys in the various countries are up to 40 percent off the mark. Have surveys ever worked at all? And why are they failing now?

It has a bit to do with the whole surveillance discussion. People generally have the feeling that they are constantly being listened to and questioned. There are now numerous scientific publications on this. That makes people skeptical. One has the impression: Everything that I reveal about myself will then be used against me. Conversely, this means that you no longer say what you mean and then choose. You say what is expected of you. Or that one asserts the opposite, which is actually opinion. That makes things extremely difficult, because you should be able to look into your heads with an EEG.

Your approach of using Internet searches is actually very close to a kind of EEG of the 21st century. They evaluate what is entered in the search masks.

Exactly. Because people can move around freely on all the different channels, including, of course, not only Internet searches, but also social media and e-shops. They also know there that they are being monitored or pursued by the tech giants. Nevertheless, they perceive the search for information on the Internet as something very private. Active search then also means active interest. We can make good use of this effect for our forecasts. Especially since we also have much higher numbers. If you have surveys, you always have to extrapolate from a certain percentage to 100 percent. And with these extrapolations, a lot of mistakes happen.

That sounds so logical that I wonder why the big polling institutes in the USA don't do this. Surely there must be people among the Pollsters who can evaluate Internet behavior in a similar way?

It is already done by the individual providers, but it does not give an overall picture. Google has Google data, Facebook has Facebook, Amazon also has Amazon. The disadvantage is that they all have a certain clientele - and have to draw conclusions about the total population from this. We follow this multi-channel approach and try to measure all channels in a country well and independently. Of course, this works better than just looking at the individual channels.

You said on Tuesday, election day, before the polling stations opened, that the race was now very close. That has come true. The count is not over yet, but now, on Wednesday, given the numbers already available, is there a winner on your mind?

No. Now there are quite a number of different factors. Obviously it will take longer - it may take until the end of the week for it to be counted. I assume that the states will actually count. This may help Joe Biden, because many Democrats have voted by letter about Corona. Donald Trump tries to prevent this with his lawyers, because he of course knows that there are many votes for Biden in these postal voting cards. Now the bag should be closed so that the current result applies. What still speaks for a Trump victory in the end is the fact that he won Florida. I didn't expect him to win so clearly there. I thought Florida was going to be a shiver. But it's a sign that he's doing so well there.

Usually it is said that if the projections are too strong for one side, the followers stay at home.

Yes, but that was not the case this time. The turnout was very high, which is actually a good sign for democracy.

If the Trump camp succeeds in throwing words like Marxism and socialism around, why is the Biden camp unsuccessful when calling Trump a populist, demagogue and fascist? Biden has also brought Trump closer to Goebbels.

The motivation of the Biden voters is not to maintain the status quo, but rather, as with Barack Obama, "change". They say we want a change. Biden actually played the argument too little, it was Biden's voters that raised that again.

What else did Trump use to turn the mood? Was it the riots during the protests against police violence? Or his corona illness?

We have proven that the corona disease Trump brought in a free campaign worth a billion dollars. Since then he has reached a lot of people whom he would not otherwise have reached.

Was it pity or was it the thought: if someone in their mid seventies survives, can't the virus be that bad?

Both. At first it was compassion and then the American dishwasher story: the rise, like a phoenix from the ashes.