First time legal action has been threatened because an American politician or campaign does not like CNN’s polling results, the news network says
The Trump re-election campaign is incensed over a CNN poll released Monday showing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a 14-percentage-point lead over President Donald Trump and is seeking a retraction of the poll and an apology.
The poll, the Trump campaign claimed on Tuesday, was phony and a stunt intended to drive down voter turnout and was at odds with “the actual support across America for the President.”
The president himself tweeted that he’d retained Republican pollster John McLaughlin, who’d written a memo questioning the poll’s results and methodology, to confirm his sense that the CNN poll, conducted with SSRS, was an example of “SUPPRESSION POLLS”:
CNN on Wednesday summarily rejected the Trump apology and retraction demands, saying it stands by the poll in all respects. Further, in its response letter, signed by David Vigilante, executive vice president and general counsel for AT&T’s
CNN and Warner Media News and Sports, the cable news network observed that this episode marked “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”:
“Your letter,” the Vigilante response concluded, “is factually and legally baseless,” calling it “yet another bad-faith attempt by the campaign” to, via threats of litigation, “muzzle speech it does not want voters to read or hear.”
The CNN letter also noted that McLaughlin & Associates, the pollster Trump and his campaign used to buttress its argument, is not famous for accuracy. New York magazine called McLaughlin “notorious for producing rosy polling data on behalf of its clients.”
The CNN poll was the latest in a series of surveys showing Biden leading Trump nationally. An average of general-election polls from RealClearPolitics shows Biden ahead of Trump by 8.1 points as of Wednesday. Biden also leads Trump in Florida, Pennsylvania and other battleground states.