GOP lawmaker: Don't believe polls showing Trump behind Biden

Rep. Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyMultiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 Trump may have power, but he still has no plan to fight the pandemic MORE (R-Pa.) says that polls showing President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE trailing in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania do not accurately reflect the state of the race on the ground.

Speaking with reporters on a conference call about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Biden offers well wishes to Lebanon after deadly explosion MORE’s new climate change plan, Kelly said the polls are not taking into account Trump’s support from those who turned out to vote for the first time ever in 2016.

Kelly argued that “likely voter” models used by most pollsters are not sampling those first-time voters.

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“If you had talked to people the week before the [2016] election, they would have said this guy is so far behind Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Should Biden consider a veteran for vice president? Biden leads Trump by nearly 40 points in California: poll MORE he can’t win,” Kelly said. “Well people, they didn’t poll first time voters because they didn’t know who was voting for the first time. By the same token, most of the same polls I’ve looked at, you’re still polling likely voters, so these people aren’t going to get polled.”

The polls in 2016 showed Hillary Clinton with small but consistent leads in most of the critical battleground states.

However, few pundits or polling analysts gave Trump much of a chance at winning in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. Trump ended up winning in all three former “blue wall” states by extremely narrow margins.

“President Trump, in the district I’m from, he’s very strong,” Kelly said. “In Pennsylvania, he’s very strong. I just think that when you look at the current polls, go back to 2016 and look at the polls then, and then look at 4 a.m. on the morning of that election and ask yourself how the hell that happened. It’s because there were a lot of people who came out to vote for the first time because they believed in the message and they believed in the man. And I’ll say right now, they’re going to believe in the performance, it’s been rock solid.”

Kelly’s remarks come as polls show Trump falling far behind Biden in national polls.

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Biden has also opened up leads in the six core battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And polls show a tight race in states Trump is expected to win, such as Texas, Georgia, Ohio and Iowa.

In Pennsylvania, Biden has a 6.5-percentage-point lead in the RealClearPolitics average. Trump carried the state by less than 1 point in 2016.

The president’s poll numbers against Biden have cratered in recent months, as surveys show the public does not approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus or the protests over the police killing of George Floyd.

Republicans have argued that the race will tighten once the Trump campaign has had time to define Biden and when the Democratic nominee is forced back into the spotlight following the coronavirus lockdown.

“The race will clearly tighten when there’s a race, when you can see the contrast,” said House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Top House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing Five takeaways from Fauci's testimony MORE (R-La.). “Pennsylvania voters are going to be able to see real soon what Joe Biden’s proposed policies will be on fracking, contrasted with President Trump’s agenda … that’s going to be on full display once we get into a real match-up, which we don’t have. Once the conventions are over, then people will see clearly who the candidates for president are and there’s never been a clearer contrast for people who care about the economy or jobs.”