Donald Trump’s complete dominance of earned media may have convinced him he can afford to not to spend money on get-out-the-vote efforts and internal polling in Iowa. Jill Colvin of the Associated Press quotes him yesterday morning as saying:
Trump baffled by rival campaigns' internal polling. "The networks do it for free. What the hell are they doing polling for?"
— Jill Colvin (@colvinj) January 31, 2016
Now, I’m not a fan of many political consultants or pollsters. But I’m sure that Trump could have cut “really good deals” for their services. Instead, it appears his latest FEC reports paint an interesting picture on how he spent his money: $450,000 for hats, as opposed to $235,000 for his data vendor and $551,000 on in-the-field consulting.
Admittedly, a candidate with little money shouldn’t spend it on internal polling — they have their message and they should get it out. But a candidate with unlimited resources thinking it’s worthless? That’s an unusual call.
A little internal polling might have prevented Trump from making what now appears to have been an ill-advised boycott of the Fox News debate, which surveys show was watched by about two-thirds of likely Iowa caucus-goers.
A new Emerson College Polling Society found the following:
The decision by front runner Donald Trump to skip the last Republican debate had a negative impact on his support: – 39% of GOP caucus voters said they were less likely to vote for Trump as a result of the boycott, while 14% viewed his absence as enhancing the likelihood they would vote for Trump.