ABC News on Friday published the results of an internal poll conducted by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in March, a survey that Trump himself denied even existed.
The poll found Trump trailing Joe Biden by huge margins in states he carried in 2016, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In Texas, which has voted for Republican presidents by wide margins for the last 43 years, Trump holds just a two point edge against the former vice president.
The existence of the poll and its damning findings were first reported by the New York Times earlier this week. It aligns closely with several independent surveys which have consistently found Trump trailing virtually every Democratic presidential contender in head-to-head matchups, findings which Trump himself has repeatedly denied. He also suggested the very existence of internal polling was a fabrication, and when that was proven to be a lie, instructed his staff to deny the results.
“They were fake polls that were released by somebody that is — it’s ridiculous,” he told the media during a typically meandering press conference on Wednesday. “No, we are winning in every single state that we’ve polled.”
In Florida, the Trump campaign’s internal poll shows him losing to Biden by seven points. In Wisconsin, the margin is 10 points. In Pennsylvania, it’s 16. Trump won all three states in 2016, and desperately needs all of them in order to win reelection in 2020.
“They’re giving out phony polls,” Trump insisted on Wednesday. “These are polls that we have, that nobody saw. We do very little polling because I’m not a huge believer in polling…But we have some internal polling — very little — and it’s unbelievably strong. The strongest I’ve ever been is exactly today.”
Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, confirmed the authenticity of the internal poll obtained by ABC News while simultaneously arguing that the numbers in that poll are outdated.
“These leaked numbers are ancient, in campaign terms, from months-old polling that began in March before two major events had occurred: the release of the summary of the Mueller report exonerating the President, and the beginning of the Democrat candidates defining themselves with their far-left policy message,” said Parscale in a statement to ABC News.
As the network noted, the poll was still being conducted several days after Mueller’s report first became public. The report also explicitly did not exonerate Trump, but rather outlined as many as 10 instances of criminal obstruction of justice.
Just as his boss instructed, Parscale claimed there is other, more recent internal polling showing Trump doing significantly better in the same 17 states the campaign polled. He declined to share those figures with ABC News.
The leaked internal poll only focused on a hypothetical matchup against Joe Biden, who is currently leading the field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. But recent independent polling suggests that Trump would fair only marginally better against a number of other Democratic contenders.
He trailed Bernie Sanders (by 9%), Kamala Harris (by 8%), Elizabeth Warren (by 7%), Pete Buttigieg (by 5%), and Cory Booker (by 5%) in the recent survey by Quinnipiac University.