That's not how Trump frames it.
This is so perfectly Trumpian. He could easily have said that he won the second debate, or even that he won it in a landslide, statements that are almost certainly incorrect but still within the realm of the subjective. But then he adds that parenthetical — (every poll) — and tips the scales into the easily disprovable.
He already had tweeted about some of those polls on Monday afternoon.
The margins in those surveys are, in order, 40, 86, 78, 63, 28, 72, 33 and 68 points. That's a pretty broad range of results — because these are not polls but garbage online surveys in which anyone can vote at any point. After Trump relied heavily on such results after the first debate, it seems that some news outlets stopped offering them. They were good for traffic, but terrible for journalistic integrity. So Trump is left promoting the results from “Fox 5 San Diego” and “Local 4 Detroit.”
On Monday, there was also a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. It was the first live-caller national survey to be conducted fully after news of a hot-mic videotape in 2005 involving Trump was reported, and it showed Trump dropping further behind Clinton.
Trump communication adviser Jason Miller appeared on Fox News Channel's “The Kelly File” on Monday evening, and host Megyn Kelly raised the subject.
KELLY: What do you make of the latest polls that show Trump behind 11 points, behind Hillary Clinton in a four-person race and 14 points behind in a two-person race?
MILLER: I love the fact that NBC seems to now be getting into the business of breaking the news and then also having the polls magically pop up.
KELLY: Now, we all do — we all both report the news and have polling operations.
KELLY: It's not unusual.
Notice here that Miller criticizes NBC for its poll, but not NBC's partner, the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp., which owns Fox News. It's rude to accuse of corruption the company that has invited you on for an interview.
MILLER: Right. But this poll is an outlier. You look at the L.A. Times poll, which has us ahead by several points. There are number of other, the Gravis poll by just a couple of weeks —
KELLY: But this is the one that was done entirely after the sex tape, the “Access Hollywood” tape broke.
MILLER: Yeah. But it was before last night's debate. And what we've seen for any of the tracking polls that we have seen like the L.A. Times and others that we have been looking at is the fact that it's been holding pretty consistent and I think actually Mr. Trump will probably get a pretty nice bump after last night's debate. I mean, it's a big win for him. We felt very good.
Miller dismisses the NBC-Journal poll for being conducted before the second debate (which he says was a “big win” for Trump), but also points to a two-week-old poll from Gravis Marketing where Trump and Clinton are tied.
And, of course, he points to the L.A. Times-USC tracking poll, a survey that has consistently shown Trump with a much wider lead than in other polls (and therefore has been consistently embraced by the Trump camp). The Times has gotten so many questions about its poll results that it put together an FAQ. In short, the poll measures enthusiasm from a static pool of respondents who wouldn't necessarily be considered likely voters in other surveys. There are other ways in which the Times poll differs from other surveys, and there's really no way to know whether their results are more or less accurate until the votes are tallied.
Although the NBC-Journal poll is an outlier in part because it was the first completed after the hot-mic comments, it's certainly the case that the Times poll is consistently an outlier. Remember what Miller said: “But this poll is an outlier. You look at the L.A. Times poll, which has us ahead by several points.” The period between those sentences has just been hospitalized for whiplash.
So we step back. In the middle of September, Trump had closed to within one point of Clinton in the national RealClearPolitics average of polls. Since then, Clinton has widened the gap, stretching it initially after the first debate and then wider after the hot-mic video. Since Sep. 18, when the two were closest, Clinton's support has ticked up from 44.9 to 48.1. Trump's has dropped, from 44 to 41.6. Even in the Times poll, Trump's support has dipped, and Clinton's has risen over that time period.
In other words, the polls show exactly what Trump and Miller say they don't: bad news for Trump's candidacy.
Right before Kelly and Miller talked polls, they talked media.
“We have to make sure that the reporting is fair, and it's accurate, and we're making sure that we're getting the information to all our people, and they're not being fed false information,” Miller said.
Then he went on to explain why polling showing Trump in trouble should be discounted in favor of old polls and outliers.