Trump pollster: Trump won because he was slightly behind
© Greg Nash

John McLaughlin, a pollster for Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE, on Sunday partly attributed the businessman's win in the presidential election to polls that showed him behind for most of the campaign.

McLaughlin compared Trump's victory to the come-from-behind campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, saying there were a number of similarities between the races.


"We don't want to be ahead. Because if we are ahead, all of the sudden the psychology changes, the media focus attack on us even more so than they were doing," McLaughlin said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis.

"But there is an idea that when you are a little bit behind, all of the sudden your supporters get more energized. And we knew they were ... very energized to begin with," he continued.

McLaughlin, one of the few pollsters who predicted a Trump victory, also said that part of the reason Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBen Affleck: Republicans 'want to dodge the consequences for their actions' through gerrymandering Republican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema MORE lost the election was because she did not have strong nationwide support like President Obama.

McLaughlin said that most pollsters made the mistake of looking at the 2016 election "like through a rearview mirror."

"2012 was the Obama coalition. Where he did very very well among minority voters, he did very well among women, he did very well among young voters. And Hillary Clinton never had that kind of enthusiasm. She always had the majority of Americans wanting to vote against her," he said.

McLaughlin added that Trump's team focused on voters who did not want four more years of Obama but were not yet supporting Trump.

"And ultimately that strategy reached out to a Rustbelt voter and a Sunbelt voter and combined them, and really you could see in the results of the election that that strategy worked," he said.