3:45 p.m. update: CNN’s general counsel has responded to the Trump campaign’s earlier demand that the network apologize for releasing a poll that has the president losing to former vice president Joe Biden by 14 points nationally:
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) June 10, 2020
President Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign is now demanding that CNN apologize for releasing a poll that has former vice president Joe Biden leading him in the 2020 presidential race.
The Trump campaign sent a “cease and desist” letter to CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, and as expected the letter was immediately rejected by the network.
“We stand by our poll,” a CNN spokesman told TVNewser.
The results from the CNN poll, which was conducted by SSRS and released on Monday, aren’t particularly favorable for the sitting president. It shows Trump trailing Biden in the popular vote by 14 points, 55%-41%, among registered voters. It also finds the president’s approval rating at 38%—his worst mark since January 2019, and roughly on par with approval ratings for one-term Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush at this point in their reelection years. Additionally, his disapproval rating is at 57%, according to the poll.
In the letter to Zucker, the Trump campaign argued that the CNN poll is “designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling.”
“It’s a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President, and present a false view generally of the actual support across America for the President,” read the letter, signed by the Trump campaign’s senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis and chief operating officer Michael Glassner.
Polls from ABC News/Washington Post, Monmouth University, NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist College, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, Quinnipiac University and Fox News also show Biden well ahead of Trump. These polls, averaged with the CNN poll, find Biden up by double digits, a result outside any margin of error. Perhaps they’ll be receiving letters too.
In CNN’s poll, 32% of respondents identified themselves as Democrats, 25% identified themselves as Republicans, and 44% described themselves as independents or belonging to another party. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. It is 3.6 points among registered voters.
Yes, 25% and 32% is a significant gap, however. According to CNN polling experts Veronica Stracqualursi and Harry Enten, the percentage of respondents is consistent with other major polls that use live phone interviews, which provide the most reliable snapshot of the race. McLaughlin, a company the Trump campaign hired to look for inconsistencies in the CNN poll, argued that pollsters should include a third of Republicans in surveys to reflect the 33% that they represented in the 2016 vote, but Stracqualursi and Enten argue that exit polls nearly always have higher shares of partisans and lower shares of independents than pre-election phone polls.
Stracqualursi and Enten also remind readers that Trump has regularly criticized polls that do not reflect favorably on him while promoting ones that do. Last month, the president bashed Fox News’ widely respected polling operation, even though the network is one he often praises and gives interviews to, for a telephone-conducted poll that showed him behind Biden by 8 points, and instead pointed to a CNN poll released earlier in the month where he was leading Biden in battleground states. That CNN poll, however, showed Biden had a five-point lead over Trump among registered voters nationwide.