Trump campaign fires pollsters after leaked numbers show him trailing Biden

Posted at 5:56 AM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 07:56:19-04

The Trump campaign fired several pollsters after internal polling numbers from his own campaignthat show he’s trailing potential Democratic challenger Joe Biden were leaked, CBS News has learned. President Trump called those polls “fake.” His campaign says they were created to test a “worst-case scenario” for the president.

The president is set to officially announce his re-election campaign on Tuesday at a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, a state that helped propel him to victory in 2016, reports CBS News’ Weijia Jiang. A new CBS News battleground tracker pollshows likely 2020 Democratic voters would pick Biden as their first choice to go head-to-head with Mr. Trump. But the president said he’s not relying on a pitch to persuade voters to re-elect him because his record is plenty.

“I don’t think anybody’s done more in two and a half years than what I’ve done,” Mr. Trump said.

But 2020 comes with new challenges. The Trump campaign’s internal polling shows the president trailing the former vice president in critical battleground states – 39% to 55% in Pennsylvania, 41% to 51% in Wisconsin, and by 7 points in Florida.

The Trump team says the poll is from March, though Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied it existed at all. Still, he’s zooming in on Biden.

The new CBS News battleground tracker shows 55% of likely Democratic voters are considering supporting Biden with Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders on his heels. This weekend, the candidates looked past each other and went after President Trump.

“Somebody who actually served in the military when it was his turn, somebody with a totally different style, like me, is about as opposite as it gets,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan.

Sanders told Fox News, “I think, frankly, I am the strongest candidate to defeat Trump.”

Our CBS News battleground tracker shows that is the right strategy. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats want their party’s candidates to talk about beating President Trump in 2020, while just 31% want to hear about trying to impeach him.

The president appeared to reference the poll in a tweet Sunday night, claiming “almost 70 percent say don’t impeach” — not exactly an accurate interpretation.