Donald Trump has called out reporters and their “dishonest” reporting of his poll numbers. To be clear: The billionaire businessman and presidential canidate is leading in all the national 2016 Republican nomination polls, by quite a few percentage points in some. The dishonesty, he and his campaign are quick to point out, comes from how the media seems to report how he is slipping, even though there is no sign of actual slippage…
Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, told Business Insider Thursday (September 24) that he believes the media in general are motivated to see his candidate diminished. “Look,” he said, “I think the media in general wants to have a narrative that this race is either tighter than it really is. Or they want to propel other candidates into the forefront because they know that Mr. Trump can’t be bought and is only accountable to the American voter.”
Lewandowski quickly pointed out that Trump Trump continues to be the frontrunner by a wide margin in a large Republican field (of which there are 15 currently, two, Rick Perry and Scott Walker, having dropped out of the race). He insisted, “If you were any other candidate in this race, you would welcome the opportunity to have Mr. Trump’s poll numbers.”
A quick look at Real Clear Politics’ collection of polling data shows that Lewandowski most likely has a point. Donald Trump’s smallest lead in all the polls tracked by the polling aggregate is five points (Bloomberg), the largest lead 9 points (CNN/ORC). Although his overall points are down minimally, Trump has been tracking at 25 percent of the Republican vote since late July.
But the Trump campaign sees a slew of reports — from the Washington Post, CNN, and Politico as mishandling the truth about the outspoken candidate’s poll numbers. Overall, they suggest his numbers are slipping, that he’s sliding in the polls, especially since the second debate (hosted by CNN), and that he’s losing ground most to businesswoman-turned-politician Carly Fiorna, who is considered to have dominated said second debate.
Donald Trump, true to his gift for bluntness, went on the offensive, telling Business Insider, “It’s dishonest reporting and — let me change it — it’s knowingly dishonest. Because the polls speak for themselves. I’m up. Check out Zogby. Check out Reuters — the Reuters — what do they call that? The Reuters average. Even The Huffington Post. Check all of them.”
And he is correct. Checking those polls finds him leading, just as he does in every poll that’s been released since late July. Trump also noted that he was ahead in the Iowa state poll as well as in Florida. He pointed out a very biased article by the Sun Sentinel, which headlined the relative positions of former governor Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, but did not mention him — and he led the poll.
So is the Trump campaign being targeted by the media for failure? According to Trump, it is familiar territory, not only for himself but for the American people. “Very dishonest and the people understand that,” he said in the interview.
The position of blaming the media is a time-tested politician’s misdirection but not altogether always without some merit (as it would appear in this case — due to Trump’s not actually slipping or sliding in the polls. In actuality, it is just that competitors Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina have seen an increase in support, not that Trump himself has actually lost any or much of his own support). And Trump has used the tactic before, erroneously accusing CNN’s Anderson Cooper of not reporting his better poll numbers (as opposed to more negative results) early on in his candidacy. He told Cooper that he and the media was not trusted by the people and he understood why.
Business Insider concluded its talk with Trump by asking if he was in a dangerous position due to his own insistence on touting his poll numbers, a position that gives him no real room to slip. The businessman said, “I can’t tell you. My numbers have just gone up. I just can’t tell you.”