Monmouth University’s polling unit, in a highly unusual statement, indicated Wednesday they do not have confidence in their jaw-dropping survey released earlier this week showing former Vice President Joe Biden plunging in the Democratic presidential primary.
“As other national polls of 2020 Democratic presidential race have been released this week, it is clear that the Monmouth University Poll published Monday is an outlier,” Patrick Murray, the director of the poll, said. “This is a product of the uncertainty that is inherent in the polling process.”
The poll, released Monday, showed Biden dropping 13 percentage points from the 32 percent he captured in June in Monmouth’s previous national poll for the Democratic nomination race. It showed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tied at 20 percent, with Biden at 19 percent.
Biden’s campaign vehemently pushed back on the survey, insisting to political reporters that “this poll is an outlier that is contradicted by every measure of the national average.”
On Wednesday, Monmouth agreed.
“It occurs very infrequently, but every pollster who has been in this business a while recognizes that outliers happen,” Murray said. “This appears to be one of those instances.”
He added, “In the end, we must put out the numbers we have.”
But for the last two days, the poll reverberated across the political and media world.
“Biden electability argument takes hit,” read the headline in an article by The Hill. The story quoted Democratic strategists questioning whether the Monmouth poll was a dent in the wall of Biden’s electability argument. Fox News also covered the poll.
Arnie Arnesen, a New Hampshire based progressive radio host and commentator who was a former Democratic gubernatorial and congressional nominee, described the poll as “a wakeup call.” Pointing to Biden’s repeated embracing of his former boss, President Barack Obama, Arnesen argued “the wakeup call is ‘can you run a 2016 campaign in 2020?’ Maybe not.”
But Biden campaign pollster John Anzalone, scrutinizing the Monmouth survey, told Fox News, “I’m not damming Monmouth as a bad pollster. I’m saying it’s an outlier.”
Veteran Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson said “you can quickly over-read into this poll,” as he pointed to the survey’s sample size of 298 voters and margin of error of 5.7 points. Ferguson, who served as a senior spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and remains neutral in the 2020 Democratic nomination race, emphasized that “if I was the Biden campaign, there are lots of things that would keep me up at night. This poll isn’t one of them.”