Trump campaign asks CNN to retract poll showing Biden beating him

‘It’s a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the president,’ the letter reads

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The Trump campaign has demanded that CNN retract and apologise for a poll showing Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential election, in a substantial lead.

CNN’s poll, conducted by survey and market research firm SSRS, showed president Donald Trump trailing Mr Biden by 14 per cent among registered voters.

In the poll, 55 per cent of participants said they would vote for Mr Biden if the election was held today, compared to 41 per cent who said they would vote for Mr Trump.

The poll also showed Mr Trump’s approval rating at 37 per cent, which is the worst it has been since January 2019.

In a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker, that the broadcaster said “contained numerous incorrect and misleading claims”, the Trump campaign claimed the poll was “designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling”.

The letter, signed by the campaign’s senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis and chief operating officer Michael Glassner, said the poll presented a misleading view of support for the president.

“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.”

The campaign also demanded a “full, fair, and conspicuous retraction, apology, and clarification to correct its misleading conclusions”.

In response to the letter, CNN’s executive vice president and general counsel, David Vigilante, said: “To my knowledge, this is the first time in its 40-year history that CNN had been threatened with legal action because an American politician or campaign did not like CNN’s polling results.”

He added: “To the extent we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past, they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for a free and independent media.”

President Trump tweeted last week, after the poll was published, that he had hired Republican polling company McLaughlin & Associates to analyse the data from SSRS.

Mr Trump wrote that he had asked them to look into the poll, and ones from other outlets, that he felt “were FAKE based on the incredible enthusiasm we are receiving.”

The Trump campaign used claims from MacLaughlin & Associates’ analysis in the letter, and CNN writers Henry Enten and Veronica Stracqualursi fact-checked some claims made by the pollsters.

“McLaughlin says CNN’s survey is a ‘skewed anti-Trump poll of only 25% Republican.’ That percentage of respondents, however, is consistent with several other major polls that use live telephone interviews, which provide the most reliable snapshot of the race,” they wrote in an article about the letter.

“McLaughlin this week argued that pollsters should include a third of Republicans in surveys to reflect the 33% that they represented in the 2016 vote, but exit polls nearly always have higher shares of partisans and lower shares of independents than pre-election phone polls,” the writers added.

CNN reported that despite the president’s claims, polls from six other outlets, including Fox News, showed Mr Biden at least 10 per cent ahead of Mr Trump in June.

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