CNN and other outlets first reported the numbers — which showed Trump lagging behind Joe Biden in states like Michigan and Wisconsin — weeks ago, but a purge of the polling team was proposed after Trump grew angry about coverage of the numbers in recent days. Campaign officials were frustrated after the detailed numbers of four of the 17 states polled leaked to outlets like ABC last week.
Michael Baselice, the president and CEO of Baselice & Associates Inc., is one of the pollsters the Trump campaign has let go, a Republican familiar with the matter told CNN. Baselice, who is based in Austin, Texas, joined the Trump campaign near the end of the 2016 election cycle and had been close to Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale, the person said. Adam Geller, who was also a pollster for the Trump campaign in 2016, was another who was let go, according to another Republican familiar with the situation.
A person familiar with the purge said the firings were less about the accuracy of the polling and more about mollifying the President.
Two officials familiar with the discussions said the top two pollsters, Tony Fabrizio and John McLaughlin, are expected to stay on.
NBC News first reported on the campaign’s decision to oust some pollsters.
Internal polling became a sensitive subject this week after Trump blew up at several campaign officials, telling them the numbers they had were incorrect and not an accurate reflection of how he’s polling throughout the country, one person familiar with his reaction told CNN. He has become fixated on the numbers in recent days, asking for regular updates or newer polls.
“It’s incorrect polling,” Trump told Fox News in an interview Friday. “Yes, it’s incorrect.”
In turn, campaign officials have spent the last several days rebutting the numbers, claiming they were old or incomplete. However, when the numbers were first reported, the campaign downplayed them but did not deny them.
One person lamented that the campaign has become more focused on containing the leak than the President’s dismal numbers in key battleground states.
The fallout from the numbers comes as Trump is preparing to launch his bid for reelection in Orlando on Tuesday night.