The Congressional Leadership Fund has once again released an internal poll of a competitive House race showing the Republican candidate leading but—somehow, mysteriously—has failed to include any information on the presidential contest.
Okay, it’s obviously not a mystery at all: Donald Trump’s numbers must simply suck, even though CLF’s latest survey, from Meeting Street Insights, finds Republican Troy Nehls ahead of Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni 44-32 in Texas’ open 22nd Congressional District, the first poll we’ve seen of the contest. Even those results, with so many undecideds and Nehls well below 50, aren’t necessarily all that great for the GOP, which is trying to hold this seat, but the hide-the-ball stunt on the presidential side is getting really egregious at this point: CLF, which is the largest Republican player in House races, has now done the same thing in four polls in just the last week-and-a-half.
Pretty much every recent House poll from Democrats, by contrast, has trumpeted leads for Joe Biden, even in districts Trump won four years ago. For the Congressional Leadership Fund, however, the prospect of embarrassing Dear Leader with ugly polling data is one that must be avoided at all costs. In fact, that overriding directive is so strong, it’s possible that CLF isn’t hiding anything: Republican operative Liam Donovan insists that some GOP pollsters really aren’t testing presidential matchups when they go into the field, saying, “You don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.”
The claim is entirely believable. Last year, ProPublica reported that the RNC had stopped providing crucial “voter scores” on Trump to candidates, both to “discourage candidates from distancing themselves” from Trump and to prevent any leaks of humiliating statistics. More recently, Daily Beast described the great lengths Trump’s own aides have gone to to massage and conceal the truth about his dire standing in the polls.
Simply not asking about Trump’s standing at all is the next logical step. But while it might be a great way to keep Trump from getting pissed, burying your head in the sand is also a great way to lose elections.