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Thursday, 12 October 2017 15:02

Why is a former Clinton pollster writing iffy poll analysis that panders to Trump supporters?

Written by  Philip Bump
President Trump. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The document for which Mark Penn will be remembered in books documenting the nation’s political history is a memo he wrote for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign.

That memo argued that Clinton — for whom he was an adviser — should focus on blue-collar voters and women, taking pains to note that, unlike Barack Obama, she was born in the middle of the United States.

“Let’s explicitly own ‘American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values,” Penn suggested, saying that Obama’s diverse, multicultural background should be saved “for 2050,” when the nation itself was more pluralistic. “Let’s use our logo to make some flags we can give out. Let’s add flag symbols to the backgrounds.”

Obama was unelectable in a general, Penn argued, except “perhaps against Atila [sic] the Hun.”

That turns out to have been wrong.

If that memo didn’t exist, Penn’s essay at the Hill published on Thursday might be considered one of his more problematic pieces of analysis.

We can’t fault Penn too much for the headline — “Why the polls are still wrong” — as it’s rarely the contributor’s choice what the headline will be. But it’s remarkable that Penn didn’t ask that the headline be changed, given that his entire point is that polls show President Trump with more support than he’s given credit for, albeit in the form of support for his stated policies.

Read more at WashingtonPost

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