Donald Trump and his surrogates followed up the GOP candidate’s highly panned debate performance by arguing that online polls were more accurate than the scientific poll from CNN that he lost.
Shortly after the first presidential debate at Hofstra University on Monday, Sean Hannity began extolling the online polls on his Fox News program.
“I’ll give you the list of polls,” Hannity said before rattling off a number of online polls: “Time Magazine, Drudge report, CNBC, The Hill, CBS.”
“The only one that has Hillary winning is CNN and they’re the Clinton News Network anyway,” the Fox News host shrugged.
In a later segment, Hannity argued that online polls were superior to CNN’s scientific method.
“CNN’s poll had 500 respondents,” Hannity scoffed. “These [online] polls have thousands of respondents and CNN is the Clinton News Network.”
While respondents to online polls are self-selecting, CNN conducted a scientific telephone survey of 521 registered voters. Of those respondents, 62% said Hillary Clinton won the debate, but only 27% thought Trump came out on top. The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points and over sampled Democrats by 15 points.
In fact, CNN’s poll was the only survey that Nate Silver considered in his post-debate analysis.
“Clinton bested Trump in the first presidential debate according to a variety of metrics, and the odds are that she’ll gain in head-to-head polls over Trump in the coming days,” Silver wrote. “That’s the third-widest margin ever in a CNN or Gallup post-debate poll, which date back to 1984.”
But on Tuesday morning, Trump called in to Fox News and blasted CNN’s poll as “meaningless.”
“Every poll,” Trump said. “I won slate, I won Drudge — I got almost 90 percent of the vote in the poll. I won Time Magazine, I won CBS.”
“I won every single poll other than CNN,” he added. “And not many people are watching CNN. I tell you what, that place is a disaster. The people they have on those shows, they’re third grade talent.”
“When I go to a debate, I look at the polls. And I look at Drudge, which is great — he’s also a great guy, by the way — but I look at the Drudge poll, I look at the Time Magazine poll, I look at Slate. There’s like seven polls. And other than CNN — which is meaningless because it’s a Democratic poll — I won every poll easily.”
As The Washington Post‘s Philip Bump explained on Tuesday, online debate polls are no more accurate than polling the crowd at a Trump rally.
“These online polls are, again, garbage, no more representative of the population as a whole than is the crowd at a Trump rally,” Bump observed. “Polls like the one at Drudge or Alex Jones’s or USA Today’s are entertainment, no more a poll that gauges reality than grabbing a lariat for a sepia-toned photo at the fair makes you an 1890s cowboy.”
Watch the video below from Fox News.