A new Washington Post-ABC poll showing Joe Biden trailing his presidential predecessor Donald Trump by 10 percentage points was excoriated by the leading political pollster Larry Sabato.
Noting that the pollsters themselves cautioned that their survey was an outlier, Sabato – the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia – called the decision to release it “ridiculous”.
“Ignore the Washington Post–ABC poll,” Sabato wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “How could you even publish a poll so absurd on its face? Will be a lingering embarrassment for you.” He added: “Just plain embarrassing – for them.”
The New York Times’ chief political analyst, Nate Cohn, also criticized the poll that said Trump was ahead of Biden in the 2024 White House race.
Referring to a Post-ABC poll in May that found Trump was up seven percentage points on Biden, which was similarly inconsistent with most polling, Cohn wrote on X: “It’s really really hard to release outlying poll results, so you’ve got to give credit to ABC/Post here, but I do have a fairly major quibble with ABC/Post here: if you release consecutive ‘outlying’ poll results … you don’t get to dismiss your results.
“If it happens twice in a row in the same race, it’s clear that this is the result of some element of your approach, and you either need to decide you’re good with it and defend it or you need to go home.”
The Washington Post acknowledged its survey was not in line with most polling, which generally finds that the Democratic incumbent Biden and the former Republican president Trump would be in a close, competitive race if they faced each other in the 2024 election.
The Post wrote in its analysis: “The … poll shows Biden trailing Trump by 10 percentage points at this early stage in the election cycle, although the sizable margin of Trump’s lead in this survey is significantly at odds with other public polls that show the general election contest a virtual dead heat.
“The difference between this poll and others, as well as the unusual makeup of Trump’s and Biden’s coalitions in this survey, suggests it is probably an outlier.”
Despite the criticisms, at least one person stood by the poll results, with host Martha Raddatz saying on Sunday’s ABC This Week: “Whatever caveats, whether that is an outlier, that’s a tough one to spin.”
In response to Raddatz, the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile said on the show: “It’s a tough one to spin, Martha, but I don’t believe Democrats should be sitting in a panic room.”
Brazile went on to urge Democrats to “get out there, make your case to the American people”, who she said were angry due to rising living costs.
Raddatz replied: “They are talking to the American people … and yet it is those pocketbook issues. The message may be out there, but they’re not feeling it.”
Trump does hold commanding leads in national and key state polls regarding the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. He enjoys that advantage despite facing more than 90 criminal charges across four separate indictments charging him with attempted subversion of the 2020 election that he lost to Biden, retention of classified information after his presidency and hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.