Trump taps pollster to push back on surveys showing Biden with double-digit lead

President Trump released an analysis from a pollster allied with his campaign on Monday seeking to knock down recent surveys showing him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the White House. 

Trump tweeted out the analysis by the firm McLaughlin & Associates, holding it up as a sign that recent polls from the likes of CNN, NBC and The Wall Street Journal had been tainted by political bias and shaky methodology. 

“I have retained highly respected pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, to analyze todays CNN Poll (and others), which I felt were FAKE based on the incredible enthusiasm we are receiving,” Trump tweeted. “Read analysis for yourself.”

“This is the same thing they and others did when we defeated Crooked Hillary Clinton in 2016. They are called SUPPRESSION POLLS, and are put out to dampen enthusiasm. Despite 3 ½ years of phony Witch Hunts, we are winning, and will close it out on November 3rd!” he added.

The effort by Trump to discredit recent polls comes after a survey released by CNN on Monday showed the president trailing Biden by 14 points. Another poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal released over the weekend put Trump down by 7 points against Biden. 

Trump lashed out at the CNN poll earlier on Monday, saying the network’s polls “are as Fake as their Reporting” and arguing that CNN polls from 2016 showed him trailing Hillary Clinton by similar margins before his unexpected victory in the Electoral College. 

The analysis released on Monday, authored by the firm’s CEO, John McLaughlin, argues that “the latest skewed media polls” showing Trump trailing Biden by significant margins “must be intentional,” claiming that the surveys undersampled Republicans and failed to base their results on responses from “likely voters.”

“For, example, the CNN poll out today is another skewed anti-Trump poll of only 25% Republican,” McLaughlin wrote in the memo. “It’s a poll of 1,259 adults – not even registered voters, let alone likely voters. Also, it was done between June 2nd and 5th, before the great economic news from last Friday.”

In fact, the CNN poll’s findings showing Biden with a 14-point lead over Trump appear to be based on responses from 1,125 registered voters, according to crosstabs released by CNN and the polling and market research firm SSRS. 

The analysis from McLaughlin also made no mention of a Fox News poll released late last month showing Biden with an 8-point lead over Trump — largely in line with other recent surveys that found Trump at a disadvantage to his Democratic rival. The Fox News poll is based on responses from 1,207 registered voters, 42 percent of whom identified as either Republican or Republican-leaning.

McLaughlin’s polling work has been called into question before. In 2014, his work came under scrutiny after he fielded a poll showing former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) leading his primary challenger at the time, Dave Brat, by 34 points. Weeks later, Brat won that race by 11 points.

Post-election polling in that race by McLaughlin found that some Democrats turned out in the primary to vote for Brat over Cantor. 

Still, Trump has faced a flurry of polls in recent weeks showing his support, both nationally and at the state level, waning as his administration grapples with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, economic turbulence, and widespread protests over racial injustice and police brutality.

Of course, polls are not predictive of election results and are intended to act as a snapshot of public sentiment at a given moment in time. Trump trailed Clinton in most public polls in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election before his Electoral College victory in November of that year. Clinton carried the popular vote.

Tags 2020 election CNN Donald Trump Eric Cantor Hillary Clinton Joe Biden John McLaughlin NBC Polling polls WSJ
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