I sympathize with POTUS and campaign manager Brad Parscale in being angry that their own internal polls somehow ended up in the media’s hands. But why do they assume the leak came from the pollsters rather than from someone inside Trump’s campaign who had access to the data? How tightly restricted is access to it? Neither the Times nor ABC said anything in their stories about who their sources were.
Are the pollsters being fired because of the leak or are they being fired because the numbers were bad?
The obvious solution: Replace them with Rasmussen Reports and let Trump spend the rest of the campaign believing he’s leading Biden by 20 points.
The NYT claims that three of the campaign’s five polling outfits will be sent packing, although two are being lateraled over to work for Trump’s Super PAC. Oddly, Tony Fabrizio, the pollster who conducted the survey that produced the terrible numbers that are now circulating, isn’t among the three who was fired. That suggests that this really is about the leak, not the data. Maybe Trump and Parscale decided that even if they don’t know who the leaker was, firing a bunch of people will put the fear of God into all campaign personnel to hold onto information tightly going forward.
There’s some drama behind the scenes too. Isn’t there always?
For days, aides to Mr. Trump have tried to figure out whom to point the finger at over the leak of the data, which jolted and infuriated the president. But in continuing to discuss it, aides violated a long-held unofficial rule of campaigns not to comment publicly on internal polling, even if the numbers leak…
Some aides to the president appeared to be using the episode to undermine one of his closest advisers, Kellyanne Conway, who was Mr. Trump’s final campaign manager in 2016 and is now his White House counselor. Ms. Conway’s relationship with Mr. Trump, and the praise he has given her for his 2016 victory, have long stirred envy among other advisers to the president. Her former firm, the Polling Company, was one of the ones to be ousted. Ms. Conway no longer has any formal ties to the company, which was sold in 2017 to CRC Public Relations, a well-known conservative advocacy firm.
Who’s settling scores with Kellyanne by axing her former polling company? Parscale?
NBC has the fullest account yet of the actual numbers that created this mess:
In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan — states where Trump edged Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by narrow margins that proved decisive in his victory — Trump trails Biden by double-digits. In three of those states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida — Biden’s leads sit outside the poll’s margin of error.
Trump is also behind the former vice president in Iowa by 7 points, in North Carolina by 8 points, in Virginia by 17 points, in Ohio by 1 point, in Georgia by 6 points, in Minnesota by 14 points, and in Maine by 15 points.
Every state listed there is superfluous if Pennsylvania and Florida flip to blue next time, but the Ohio and Georgia numbers are gory. Georgia hasn’t gone Democratic in more than 20 years, and Trump’s margin in Ohio over Hillary was a gaudy eight points. No wonder he’s cranky.
The Times asked a good question: Why did Trump’s advisors agree to comment on the leaked numbers, which kept the story going for days? Parscale himself commented about the data to ABC, confirming that it was real but outdated (it was from March) and insisting that recent polling was much stronger for Trump. Firing the pollsters will now extend the story for yet another day. That question raises another question, though, which is why the data leaked in the first place. The offender is obviously someone who was on the Trump payroll one way or another and knew that they were risking their job by sharing it with the media. What was to be gained by letting the world know that POTUS’s own numbers show him getting his ass kicked by Biden?
Maybe Trump’s constant spin that he’s the best, greatest, the most invincible, with the best ratings, the highest polling, yadda yadda, eventually starts to wear down even his own staffers. Someone in the chain of command who knew the truth might have watched him say in an interview for the 8,000th time that his polling shows he’s doing great, headed for easy reelection, and just couldn’t take it anymore.