Social desirability bias in the 2016 Presidential Election

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Partisanship is a stable trait but expressions of partisan preferences can vary according to social context. When particular preferences become socially undesirable, some individuals refrain from expressing them in public, even in relatively anonymous settings such as surveys and polls. In this study, we rely on the psychological trait of self-monitoring to show that Americans who are more likely to adjust their behaviors to comply with social norms (i.e. high self-monitors) were less likely to express support for Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential Election. In turn, as self-monitoring decreases, we find that the tendency to express support for Trump increases. This study suggests that - at least for some individuals - there may have been a tendency in 2016 to repress expressed support for Donald Trump in order to mask socially undesirable attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-443
Number of pages11
JournalForum (Germany)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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