First Post-Debate Poll Gives Hillary A Significant Lead... And A Familiar Problem Emerges

On Tuesday afternoon, a joint NBC/WSJ poll revealed the first official polling results following Sunday's contentious debate. It found that in a 4 way race, Hillary Clinton held on to a 9 point lead over Donald Trump, with the support of 46% of likely voters, while Trump has 37%, Gary Johnson has 8% and Jill Stein has 2%.

The lead grew even bigger to 10 points in a head to head scenario, or 50% to 40%.

The commentary was familiar, and is largely a recap of the same poll conducted over the weekend just prior to the poll:

The new numbers indicate that, while Clinton still bests Trump by a significant margin, Trump's debate performance earned him a slight recovery in his overall level of support -- particularly from Republicans -- which appeared to be in freefall after Friday's release of a 2005 audiotape of Trump's sexually aggressive comments about touching and kissing women without their consent

Here is the background:

The new data incorporate interviews that were conducted after Sunday night's debate. Poll data released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal on Monday, which only included interviews conducted before the debate, showed Clinton with a 11 point lead in a four-way contest and a 14-point lead in a head-to-head matchup.

That said, there was some modest pickup in Trump support coupled with a dip for Hillary. As NBC reported, "among only those respondents contacted after the debate, Clinton's lead shrank to a seven point advantage in both a four-way matchup and in a head-to-head race -- reflecting the same margin that Clinton showed in a mid-September NBC/WSJ poll. After Sunday's debate, Republicans also showed more support for Trump as their standard-bearer. Before the debate, 67 percent of Republicans said that GOP House and Senate candidates should back Trump, a share that has now increased to nearly three-quarters - 74 percent, including 83 percent of Republicans reached post-debate on Monday."

 "After a weekend pause, Republicans once again consolidated in support of Trump," said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, whose firm Public Opinion Strategies conducted this survey along with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

Still, hardly the result the Trump campaign was expecting.

However, just like in the most recent pre-debate NBC/WSJ poll, a familiar problem emerges.

Recall that in the last NBC/WSJ poll conducted over the weekend, the representation of those polled was notably skewed, leaning significantly to the left, with 43% Democrat and Democrat leaners, 36% Republican and Republican leaners, and 12% strictly Independents.

Well, a quick look at the just released NBC poll reveals precisely the same issue:

In yet another poll the distribution of the of those questioned leans substantially to the left, as follows:

  • Democrat and Democrat leaners 44%    
  • Republican and Republican leaners 37%    
  • Independents 12%

(polling details and methodology here)

For a candidate as polarizing as Trump, having a 7 point disadvantage off the bat purely as a result of the poll's construction, will certainly have an adverse impact.

As for the balance, we will highlight the same issues that The Last Refuge pointed out overnight, which go to the fundamental reason why NBC polling may be compromised.

First, a look at the polling organization, Hart Associates, Public Opinion Strategies



Hart Research Associates is headed up by Peter D Hart (founder), and Geoff Garin (President) – SEE HERE

A quick look at what role Geoff Garin, Heart Research Associate President, is currently occupying (link here):



As the highlighted section notes, Geoff Garin, the President of Hart Research and Associates”, is currently working as “a strategic adviser for Priorities USA in support of Hillary Clinton’s election“. 

A slight conflict of interest.

But wait, it gets better.

Let’s take a look at the recent financial connection between, Geoff Garin, Hart Research Associates and Hillary Clinton’s Priorities USA Super-PAC. For that information we turn to FEC filings -HERE-.  This is what they show.



On Page #118 of the September 2016 (most recent) filing we find a payment for $178,500 (screen grab above)

On Page #92 of the same September 2016 (most recent) filing, we find another payment for $42,000 (screen grab below)



So to summarize:

  • $220,500.00 in the month of September alone paid by Hillary Clinton’s Priorities USA Super-PAC to Hart Research Associates.
  • The President of Hart Research Associates, Geoff Garin, is working for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
  • NBC (S Burke) and The WSJ (Murdoch) contact Geoff Garin (Hart Research Associates) for both the pre and post-debate poll data they will use on the day following the debate.
  • Hart Research Associates provides a small national poll sample (900) result, with significantly skewed party internals, showing Hillary Clinton, once again, leading by a material +10 points in a head to head matchup.

Finally, let's not forget that in the aftermath of the Trump Tape scandal, public attention has fallen on NBC itself as a prominent player involved in what may be the most scandalous leak in this presidential race yet as CNN reported yesterday. Oh yes, and then there was the whole John Harwood thing...

Which is why for those looking for an objective, unconflicted scientific poll, may be better suited looking elsewhere. We assume John Harwood will not be among them.