Trump Campaign to Purge Pollsters After Leak of Dismal Results

“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,” Mr. Parscale said in a statement on Friday.

“Since then, we have seen huge swings in the president’s favor across the 17 states we have polled, based on the policies now espoused by the Democrats,” he said. “The president is correct that we have no current polls against defined Democrats — at all — that show him losing in any of the states we have tested.”

The more recent survey conducted by the campaign involved extensive message-testing — in other words, asking questions about support for Mr. Trump only after first describing the Democrats in negative terms, according to two people familiar with the data. Such polling methods can be useful in assessing the strength of various messages but are not considered meaningful bottom-line measures of the current state of a campaign.

NBC on Sunday reported further data from the Trump campaign polls in March. The president trailed Mr. Biden by one point in Ohio, six points in Georgia, seven points in Iowa, eight points in North Carolina, 14 points in Minnesota, 15 points in Maine and 17 points in Virginia.

Internal polls, like any other surveys, are a snapshot in time and not predictive more than 18 months from Election Day, especially with Mr. Trump’s Democratic challenger yet to be determined. Historically, they are used by campaigns to guide their understanding of where to expend resources, and of the mood of the electorate.

But Mr. Trump is famously focused on numbers as affirmation — the larger the better — and he has recoiled at suggestions that he is struggling in a general election matchup. Throughout 2016, Mr. Trump began almost every conversation with reporters by highlighting his polling lead in public surveys of the Republican primary field.

“Well, the polls I see, we’re doing great in Pennsylvania,” he said in a telephone interview with “Fox & Friends” on Friday. “We’re doing really good in North Carolina. Florida, I’m winning by a lot. Ohio, I’m winning by a lot. I just left Iowa. We’re winning that by a lot. And every poll that I see and every poll that we have, I’m winning by — we’re doing well.”

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