CNN’s plans for an hourlong special centered around the release of one of the final polls before the Iowa Caucuses hit a snag on Saturday night.
CNN, the Des Moines Register and pollster Ann Selzer said that they would not be releasing the poll after a “respondent raised an issue with the way their interview was conducted, which could have compromised the results of the poll,” they said in a statement. Bloomberg News reported that the issue had to do with a poll taker who left Pete Buttigieg’s name off the list of candidates in an interview with at least one voter.
CNN planned a special, Iowa Caucuses: The Final Poll, around the release of the poll, with Chris Cuomo as anchor from Drake University. Instead, the special, which started at 9 p.m. ET, focused on the Iowa caucuses in general.
The poll is hotly anticipated each cycle by the political media and the campaigns, due to the fact that it is one of the final ones released before the caucuses, and because it has a great reputation for predictive results. Just hours earlier, Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight tweeted that the poll is the “rare instance” where “a poll itself could have an impact on the race heading into the Iowa caucus.”
In their statement, CNN and the Register said that “while this appears to be isolated to one surveyor, we cannot confirm that with certainty. Therefore, the partners made the difficult decision not to move forward with releasing the Iowa poll.”
Andrew Yang, who was holding his final caucus rally in a packed Des Moines Marriott ballroom, talked about the poll at the top of his remarks.
“There are a lot of rumors flying around, and one of the rumors is that we did very well in it,” he told the audience, made up largely of those in their 20s and 30s.
The news was just the kind of development that captivates the hundreds of media figures, political pundits and campaign staffers who have made Des Moines a kind of political bubble in the final days before the caucus. The poll is looked upon as a kind of guidance for the actual vote, setting expectations for campaigns and a bit of reassurance for producers and editors as they decide where to devote resources on caucus night.
On Sunday morning, Buttigieg addressed what happened in an appearance on AM Joy on MSNBC. “That must have been a tough decision to make. At a moment when you have got a president demonizing the media. Don’t get me wrong. I can be frustrated and hot under the collar with media coverage sometimes. [But it shows] how seriously folks take the integrity of their polling and their work.