Just two days before Trump will kick off his reelection bid inside a 20,000-person arena in Orlando, Florida, NBC News and the New York Times reported on Sunday that his campaign has purged three of its five pollsters after some bleak internal polls were leaked.
The 17-state poll—which Trump first claimed didn’t exist, and after it became public, called “fake” and “put out by the corrupt media“—showed that he was trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in several crucial battleground states, including Florida, Texas, and some Midwestern states. In Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the poll showed him down by double digits.
Per the Times:
For days, aides to Mr. Trump have tried to figure out whom to point the finger at over the leak of the data, which jolted and infuriated the president. But in continuing to discuss it, aides violated a long-held unofficial rule of campaigns not to comment publicly on internal polling, even if the numbers leak.
The resulting furor led to an effort by the campaign manager, Brad Parscale, to tighten control. By removing several pollsters, the campaign hopes to shrink the circle of outside operatives who have access to information that could leak, according to the presidential adviser, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
But the Trump campaign’s internal polls aren’t the only ones showing that Trump has a hill to climb. A Fox News poll released early Sunday showed him trailing Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) by 10 percent and 9 percent respectively, and with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) with small leads. Earlier this week, Quinnipiac University released results from its first national head-to-head match-ups between Trump and six of the leading Democratic presidential contenders. The poll has him losing to all of them, by between 5 and 13 points.
Meanwhile, around the time the Times story ran about his miserable poll numbers, Trump was tweeting about how six years into his presidency, “America has been made great again” and suggested that the voters will demand he stay on beyond the two-term limit.