Polling and messaging-meister Kellyanne Conway reportedly believed that President Donald Trump may have lost the election and that the numbers displayed on election night were consistent with reality. It led former chief of staff Mark Meadows to rage about her in his new book about his time in the White House.
As Trump assembled aides in the Oval Office, all he wanted to talk about was that it appeared he was losing the election, even in Georgia.
Meadows recalled that Conway suggested putting out a statement saying something about "making sure all votes were counted."
Meadows explained that she made the suggestion while noting "whether the numbers we were seeing were even plausible. Yes, she said. In fact, they were quite plausible. President Trump was losing, and she didn’t seem all that broken up about it."
“How can we be losing Georgia?” Meadows recalled Trump asking, "seeming exasperated by the notion that the state was even up for grabs. 'We were supposed to win Georgia by a landslide.' He was right."
Like with the 2016 polls, the new voters brought into the pool by registration efforts likely weren't shown in the 2020 election polling. At the same time, 2020 polls had a margin of error and a 2.5 percent off of the actual election vote, reported The Scientific American. It isn't even clear if Trump's campaign polled Georgia in the month leading into the election or if they focused on traditional swing states.
Meadows wrote in his book that they were calculating excitement in Georgia based on a rally Trump held in Rome, Georgia, "a small city in the foothills." There were more than 30,000 people at the rally. But Rome, Georgia's proximity to Alabama, Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee likely brought supporters from multiple states to see Trump. Rallies don't predict the voting outcome just like yard signs don't predict who will win an election.
"In fact, our support in the state was so strong that we hadn’t even thought to schedule a rally there until a few days before it actually happened," wrote Meadows, making it clear the campaign underestimated the impact new voters would have in the state. The rally was Nov. 1, the election was Nov. 3 and early voting had been going on for weeks. The vote that year set an all-time record of participation that passed even the 2008 election.
Meadows new book is on sale now.