It’s far too early to put much stock into 2020 polling, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Monday — unless you’re a Democrat.
“It’s way too early to be looking at polls. [Former Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker was leading heading into 2016. People come and go and they fade,” she said in an interview on Fox News. But, she added, “I think the Democrats should be looking at them because that gets them on the debate stage and they have to make numbers to get on the debate stage for their primary.”
Story Continued Below
McDaniel’s comment came on the heels of a number of public polls showing the president trailing in head-to-head match-ups with a handful of top Democrats. Trump has also in the last week disputed weak internal polling that showed him in danger or losing in several key states, reportedly asking aides to deny that he was trailing and then letting several pollsters go when the dismal but months-old poll numbers leaked.
On Monday he wrote on Twitter that “only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew” of Democrats, adding that “we are looking really good, but it is far too early to be focused on that.”
Trump and his supporters have been quick to point out that polling this far out from a general or primary election is always subject to change. When Trump formally entered the race four years ago, he debuted near the bottom of most polls before shooting to the top where he rarely relinquished his lead.
Indeed, the front of the Democratic pack has shuffled in just the past several months, with the rise of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg from longshot to serious contender. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s held steady at second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden, has dipped in recent polls, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren has surged. And former congressman Beto O’Rourke, who many presumed to be a front-runner when he finally entered the race earlier this year, has remained stuck in the middle of the pack in most recent polls.
The nearly two dozen Democrats jostling for their party’s nomination next year have yet to begin primary debates, the first of which will take place next week. While every Democrat who’s qualified for the first debate has met the 1 percent threshold set out by the DNC, the party instituted a new policy this cycle that could have allowed a candidate to qualify by garnering a certain number of grassroots donors alone.
McDaniel for her part argued that it was almost better to stay under the radar. “They always fluctuate at this time. I actually wouldn’t want the front-runner status because that means everyone’s going to be gunning for you on that debate stage,” she said.