The media are gloating this morning over a CNN/SSRS flash poll that was taken after the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Kamala Harris that shows voters overwhelmingly believe Kamala Harris won the debate.
According to the poll, 59% of voters believe Harris won the debate, while just 38% believe Pence did. CNN’s poll is being cited by various outlets now as the key evidence of Harris having bested the vice president.
There’s just one problem. One big, hugely significant problem. According to the poll’s methodology, there was a huge Democrat advantage in the sampling. Here’s what it says:
A total of 609 adults were interviewed by telephone nationwide by live interviewers calling both landline and cell phones. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Interviews were conducted October 07, 2020. Among the entire sample, 38% described themselves as Democrats, 29% described themselves as Republicans, and 33% described themselves as independents or members of another party.
Even CNN network analyst David Chalian seemed to warn viewers to take the poll with a grain a salt. “Our sample of folks who watched the debate tonight leans a little more Democratic, about 38% Democrats, 33% Independent, 29% Republicans,” he said. “So, the audience was a bit more Democratic.”
A bit more Democratic? A bit more? In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s popular vote advantage over Trump was a mere 2.1 points, but we’re supposed to believe that this poll, with a 9-point Democratic advantage, is an accurate reflection of the population?
Further skewing the poll is the fact that amongst those sampled, 56 percent had a favorable opinion of Kamala Harris before the debate, while only 41 percent had a favorable opinion of Mike Pence—a staggering 15-point advantage in favorability before the candidates had even taken the stage for the debate. This suggests that the Independents sampled were mostly Democratic-leaning independents.
More on that CNN/SSRS flash poll on the VP debate: The sampled voters had an overwhelmingly pro-Kamala bias in favorability: 15 points before the debate even happened. pic.twitter.com/UNZ6Cifabf
— Matt Margolis 🇺🇸 (@mattmargolis) October 8, 2020
If Kamala Harris legitimately won the debate, why can’t they use a sample of voters that accurately reflects the country’s political make-up to show it? They can’t because Kamala Harris clearly lost the debate.
In fact, a Frank Luntz focus group of undecided voters showed they overwhelmingly believed Mike Pence won the debate.
I hosted a virtual focus group with a dozen undecided voters immediately after last night's #VPDebate .
They had a lot to say about the candidates and their answers – or lack thereofhttps://t.co/osPaGuztn4
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 8, 2020
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis