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Zirpoli: Polling data 'fake news' to Trump, bad news for Trump

Nate Silver, who specializes in political polling data analysis, said that focusing on polling results a year and a half before the election is “completely preposterous.” Silver is correct, of course.

President Donald Trump, however, has managed to draw significant attention to these early polls and, as a result, has attracted a lot of media attention to their results. It all started when internal polling by the Trump reelection campaign was leaked to several media sources.

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If Trump hadn’t made a big deal of the data and lied about the results, most Americans would likely be unaware of them. But, as usual, Trump’s defensiveness and dishonesty, displayed in multiple tweets and interviews about the polls, drew unwelcomed media attention to the polling data.

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Trump should have been focusing on the rollout of his 2020 reelection campaign, launched during a Florida campaign rally. But, as is typical, he stepped on his own campaign messaging. Instead of having the media focusing on what he plans to accomplish for America over the next four years, Trump drew attention to his campaign’s polling data by firing three of his campaign pollsters and by picking a fight with Fox News about their polling data.

According to Trump, his campaign’s internal polls have him ahead of all the Democratic presidential candidates “in all 17 swing states.” According to his campaign’s internal polling data, however, Trump is behind in most of those states. Campaign polling data collected between March 13 and March 28, and leaked to multiple news sources, showed Trump trailing Democratic candidate Joe Biden in 11 battleground states.

The Trump campaign data showed Trump behind Biden in Virginia by 17 points, in Maine by 15 points, in Minnesota by 14 points, and in Michigan by 13 points. Biden was also ahead in North Carolina by 8 points and in Georgia by 6 points. These results were reported by several major television news outlets and The New York Times.

Trump, of course, called the polls “fake polls.” “We are winning in every single state that we’ve polled,” stated Trump when asked. “Those are fake numbers,” he explained. According to several news outlets, Trump has fired three of his five primary pollsters (Brett Loyd, Adam Geller, and Michael Baselice) either because of the poll’s poor results or because the data were leaked. Perhaps a combination of both.

But while Trump continued to state that “Those polls don’t exist,” his campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, told Fox and Friends that, “Yes, those numbers were accurate, but they were from three months ago.” As one can see, Trump and his spokeswoman are not reading from the same script.

More recent polling by Quinnipiac University (June 11), confirmed the Trump campaign polling data. Quinnipiac found Biden leading Trump nationally by 13 points (53 to 40 percent). Also ahead of Trump in the Quinnipiac poll were Sen. Bernie Sanders (+9), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (+7), Sen. Kamala Harris (+8), and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (+5). Five days later (June 16) Fox News released their presidential polling data which showed similar results: Trump was behind Biden by 10 points and Sanders by 9 points. The polls also showed Trump trailing Warren, Harris,and Buttigieg by lesser amounts.

The Fox poll also reported that Trump was losing support from an important constituent — white non-college educated women. Only 31 percent of them believed Trump’s economic policies benefited them. In addition, the Fox poll found that increasing numbers of Americans believed the Trump campaign “coordinated with the Russians.” This increased from 40 percent in January of 2017 to 50 percent today.

In response to the negative polls from his favorite television network, Trump tweeted, “Something weird going on at Fox. Our polls show us leading in all 17 Swing States.” Perhaps he’ll get Fox News to fire their pollsters, too.

If, as Trump states, he has polling data showing him ahead “in all 17 Swing States,” he isn’t releasing any information about them. Unfortunately, he will have a difficult time finding a reputable polling firm to publish false data just to keep him happy. They would quickly go out of business. And, of course, there are multiple, independent polling organizations where Americans will learn the truth. Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com, for example, provides a running summary of presidential polling.

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