Does New CNN Poll Spell Out Bad News for Trump or Worse News for Pollsters?

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

 

They got the result they wanted.

Across the media today reactions to a new CNN Presidential poll have been along the lines of seeing journalists salivating, vibrating, or possibly having a number of other physical provocations. The results of the poll show Joe Biden surging ahead of President Trump now with a healthy 14% lead. This is hoped-for doom for the president, a result that at this stage in the election cycle any leader sporting these numbers in the past failed to secure a reelection.

However.

There are a number of mitigating circumstances, the top being that CNN has some very questionable sampling methods. The results of the poll show a sharp increase among respondents who say that race relations are a significant issue in their choice for the presidency. Imagine – near blanket coverage in the press about our racist nation appears to have led to an increase among those who feel this is a big issue. There is also an increase of those who disapprove of President Trump’s handling of racial issues. Curious how this happens.

Beyond just the media saturation on the topic leading to these increases, the internal metrics helped deliver this result. You have to climb deep into the data sheets to find out the makeup of those polled — only 25% of the respondents in this poll were Republican. It does not stop there. At the end of the article covering the poll, CNN provides this detail: ”The survey also includes an oversample of black respondents for a total subsample of 362 black, non-Hispanic adults.’’

This is the length they needed to go in order to come up with a stark swing in the numbers. Considering the press has been beating up incessantly on Trump over the COVID crisis and all of the racial unrest from the past few weeks have also been dropped directly onto his lap, there are two details to factor in; Trump should be trailing by a wider margin, and it should not come about by truncating the GOP numbers and inflating the amount of POC responses.

This is just another indicator that there may be an underlying strength to the president’s position. Recently in Pennsylvania that state held its primary election. Donald Trump managed to draw more votes than Joe Biden, despite being the incumbent and largely running unopposed. As has been seen in other primaries that condition, which normally sees a lower turnout due to a foregone conclusion, Trump has been drawing larger vote returns than Barack Obama received during his second term unopposed contests.

Once you consider the deeply dramatic events the country is facing this year alone — a pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis, race riots in dozens of cities — rigging a poll should not be needed. Most presidents facing down those challenges would barely be showing a pulse, not showing signs of strength. An economic recovery after this viral crisis could become a daunting challenge for Joe Biden…and for the pollsters.