Politico ran a hit piece on U.S Senate candidate and former Missouri governor Eric Greitens based on an anonymous poll the site’s top politics editor later admitted “felt unfair.”
Politico reported on “a recent survey done for a private third-party” that showed Greitens up by four points against Democrat Lucas Kunce in the run for U.S. Senate. Although the pollster’s information and other data remained anonymous, Politico attempted to use the poll as an example of a purported divide between Missouri Republicans, despite Greitens being the leading Republican in the Senate race.
Former Trump White House aide Steven Cheung, who’s now working for Greitens, called out Politico for their faulty polling. “This is an unnamed poll with no information about who commissioned it,” Cheung tweeted. “Where are the crosstabs? Where did it come from? What was the sample size? What are the overall numbers? What are the results for the other candidates?”
This is an unnamed poll with no information about who commissioned it. Where are the crosstabs? Where did it come from? What was the sample size? What are the overall numbers? What are the results for the other candidates? https://t.co/wsfQo3NgjP
— Steven Cheung (@CaliforniaPanda) February 16, 2022
Aside from referencing the poll’s margin of error, Politico provided no other information about this alleged survey.
Cheung said the report was an example of “swampy D.C. insiders” who have consistently pushed a “Never Trump” agenda. “Swampy DC insiders are so fucking scared and desperate they have resorted to running fake, no-name polls,” he said. “These are the same Never Trump forces that fought against the movement from Day 1 and will continue to be remembered as losers.”
While the source of the anonymous poll is unclear, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell does not want Greitens to win the GOP nomination for Senate in Missouri. That’s because Greitens has made removing McConnell from the Senate GOP leadership a central plank of his U.S. Senate bid.
Perhaps most interesting is the fact that Politico’s top politics editor, Charlie Mahtesian, actually admitted in an email to the Greitens campaign that the report was “unfair” and that publishing anonymous polling goes against the publication’s standard practices.
“It’s true that we typically won’t write about an unnamed poll or one commissioned by a campaign,” Mahtesian, the senior politics editor for Politico, said in the email to the Greitens campaign, which was subsequently obtained by Breitbart News. “But on occasion we will, depending on the circumstances – how much of it do we see, how well do we know the source and their motives, who was the pollster, how newsworthy are the findings.”
Mahtesian continued in the email to acknowledge that Politico’s reporting on the poll “felt unfair.”
“We felt the circumstances warranted writing – the polling spoke to a key argument in the primary,” Mahtesian wrote. “But I can see why it might have felt unfair, or the application of a different standard.”
Greitens campaign manager Dylan Johnson called out Politico’s tactics and said they “prove that Governor Greitens is dominating this race, and the insiders can’t stand it.
“The same fake news media who have lied about Governor Greitens for years are lying again. For all I know that poll was conducted among the activists in the Politico newsroom,” Johnson said. “These tactics further prove that Governor Greitens is dominating this race and the insiders can’t stand it.”