President Donald Trump tweeted a memo from his pollster that argues without evidence that media company pollsters are colluding against Trump in favor of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden.
His pollster, John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates, also happens to be responsible for one of the biggest polling errors in the past decade. In 2014, McLaughlin was working for then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). He predicted that Cantor would beat his Republican primary challenger, Dave Brat, by 34 points.
When the election came, Cantor lost by 12 points. (Former Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) ultimately lost to Rep. Abigail Spangerer (D-Va.) in 2018.)
This wasn’t McLaughlin’s only high profile mistake in Virginia. In 2012, he forecasted that former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) was up, 47-44%, over Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Allen lost that Senate race by six points.
McLaughlin told the Washington Post in 2014 that he was blindsided by people who don’t typically vote in Republican primaries, something he said no one could have predicted.
McLaughlin also predicted that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would beat President Obama in Virginia by seven points in 2012. Instead, Obama won the state by four points.
President Trump made his announcement via Twitter calling McLaughlin a “highly respected pollster.” His tweet was accompanied by a photo of a report from McLaughlin & Associates claiming that current polls by major news networks like NBC, ABC and CNN are “skewed” and they must be like that intentionally because of “Democratic operatives.”
“The refusal to screen for actual likely voters is creating an under-polling of Republicans and therefore Trump voters,” McLaughlin wrote. “It’s exactly what the media did in 2016. Let’s prove them wrong again.”