Biden campaign sends memo to media outlets asserting disparity in polling coverage

Published by The Hill RSS Feed on

President Biden’s reelection campaign sent a memo to news outlets Tuesday asserting that there’s disparity in the way the media has covered polling, so far, following the coverage of the latest set of polls that show Biden trailing former President Trump in a hypothetical 2024 rematch.

The memo from Biden-Harris 2024 communications director Michael Tyler was sent first exclusively to The Hill. It will be sent to political directors, editors, and producers at major media outlets and television networks, according to the memo.

“Despite the ‘hair-on-fire’, ‘sky-is-falling’ tone we’ve seen from media coverage over the last few days, political predictions more than a year out tend to look a little different a year later. Gallup predicted an eight-point loss for President Obama only for him to win handedly a year later. A year out from the 2022 midterms, every major outlet similarly predicted a grim forecast for President Biden,” Tyler said in the memo.

Tyler cited polling that showed Biden leading Trump or is tied with the former president from Oct. 17 through Nov. 6, including polls from NPR/PBS/MaristYahoo News/YouGovUSA/Suffolk, and Quinnipiac University, among others.

“In recent days, the New York Times/Siena College poll has gotten non-stop attention to the exclusion of nearly every other poll. But if you zoom out, you’ll see a more complete picture. There have been eight polls in the past three weeks showing President Biden leading or tied with Donald Trump,” Tyler said.

Much of the polling coverage this week by major media outlets have picked apart a New York Times/Siena College poll published Sunday that proved dismal to Biden in a number of ways, including Trump leading Biden in five out of six critical battleground states that will likely determine the outcome of the 2024 race. The poll also found Biden losing support among young voters and Black voters, two key demographics.

A CBS News poll released Sunday also found Trump leading Biden in a hypothetical match-up, 51 percent to 48 percent.

Tyler, in the memo, highlighted that voters are supportive of Biden’s accomplishments, such as capping the price of insulin, making investments in infrastructure, and lowering the price of prescription drugs.

“Another critical point being overlooked: no president has ever run for reelection with a record of accomplishment that is as popular as the one President Biden will be running on over the next year,” he said.

But Biden has consistently polled badly when voters are asked about his handling of the economy, with stubborn inflation easing very little over the last year.

Tyler claimed in the memo that media outlets are “fretting over the same polls that have gotten it wrong time and time again” and highlighted the campaign’s paid media campaigns and outreach to Latino, Black, young, and women voters.

He quoted economist Daniel Kahneman in the memo, who said: “Most successful pundits are selected for being opinionated, because it’s interesting, and the penalties for incorrect predictions are negligible.”

Tyler also outlined that Biden won more votes than any presidential candidate in U.S. history in the 2020 election, and that he is the only person to beat Trump.

He echoed comments from Biden campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez, who acknowledged in a memo last week that this will be a very close election. Tyler added that that Biden’s campaign “is ignoring the noise.” 

Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also argued to reporters during the daily briefing that the latest set of polls should be treated with skepticism, pointing to recent examples of surveys failing to predict what would actually happen at the ballot box.

Biden allies have been looking to mitigate the fallout over the recent polling, working to tamp down Democratic anxieties. While some current and former Biden aides acknowledged the latest poll painted an unflattering picture, they dismissed the idea that the sky is falling on the president’s chances.

The latest memo is reminiscent of one the White House sent to media outlets in September, urging them to ramp up scrutiny of the House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into Biden.