Neil W. McCabe on Polling and How Kamala Harris Is Not the Best Choice for Biden, But the One He Had to Make


Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil W. McCabe to the newsmakers line.

During the third hour, McCabe weighed in on Joe Biden’s Vice President choice of Kamala Harris stating that it was not the best pick but the one he had to make. He also discussed how traditional polling no longer applies today citing examples that the wrong questions were being asked of the American voter.

Leahy: We are now joined on the line by our national correspondent Washington based journalist, good friend, and long time colleague, Neil W. McCabe.  Good morning Neil.

McCabe: Michael. Nothing can spoil my mood today. Good to be with you.

Leahy: (Laughs) I’m not trying to spoil your mood. Why pray tell are you in such a good mood today Neil?

McCabe: Well, today the kids at 5:38 Matt Silvers organization a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABC News formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of The New York Times put out their projection this morning at 06:30 here on the east.

And they predicted Joe Biden has a 71 percent chance of becoming the next President of the United States. Trump 29 percent. This is the first projection of this cycle. And that is exactly like the first projection four years ago that said Hillary Clinton 71, Trump 29. (Chuckles) Four years later.

Leahy: They are following the same pattern it seems to me.

McCabe: Yes.

Carmichael: Neil, this is Crom. Do you think that they just took their polls from four years ago (Laughs) and came up with the same conclusion or do you think they put a little more effort into it?

McCabe: How many of us have taken that old memo and used a little copy and paste. Changed the name. Here you go, boss. Right on time. (Laughter)

Leahy: You know Neil, I did a story at Breitbart a couple of days ago on August 9. If you compare the Real Clear average of polls on August 9, 2020, they show that Joe Biden had a six-point four percent lead over Donald Trump. That same poll taken August 9, 2016, showed Hillary Clinton with a seven-point six percent lead. So another encouraging sign (Chuckles) that Trump will be re-elected.

McCabe: Mike, you and I had the privilege and honor of working with Pat Caddell four years ago. Over and over again Pat said nobody likes Trump but they agree with him. And so when all these favorability and approval ratings they’re meaningless for a guy that nobody likes but everybody agrees with.

I’m not looking at them now but I would tell people to start tracking Trump’s handling of the economy. Trump’s handling of foreign policy. Trump’s handling of trade. And I’m sure those numbers are going to improve for Trump as we get closer and closer to the election.

Carmichael: As we got closer to the election in 2016, didn’t Nate Silver get up to a 98 percent chance for Hillary?

McCabe: That night! (Chuckles)

Carmichael: OK. That’s what I thought. I thought the night before the election he said that Hillary had a 98 percent chance of winning.

McCabe: When we released that poll that Mike and I did with Pat on election day my headline for the Breitbart write up was Pat Cadell: Trump Wins Today Because Americans Want Their Country Back. I don’t think four years later they are like, you know? We don’t want our country back.

Leahy: Yeah. And Neil I went back and looked at that election night November 8. You had that story from Pat Caddell saying that Trump was going to win. And you and I had worked together on a series of about 50 polls national and statewide level that Gravis Marketing did for Breitbart where Pat Caddell wrote the questions.

And you and I marveled by the way the guy’s mind worked in understanding the American voter. That same night that he the only guy at a national level who said Trump was going to win. That same night I went back and looked. There was an article by another Neil at Breitbart, Neil Munro. And in that article.

McCabe: The great Neil Munro.

Leahy: Yeah. The great Neil Munro. He’s a guy that basically asked President Obama in the Rose Garden a question the president didn’t want to answer. He was pilloried as a bad guy for daring to ask the question.

McCabe: I’ll blow my segment time but Neil Munro I’m pretty sure is the only man or woman in eight years whoever interrupted Obama.

Carmichael: What was the question? Do you all remember the question that he asked that got Obama upset?

McCabe: No. But you know Obama would take us down tobacco road for these 20-minute meandering answers. But go ahead, Mike.

Leahy: I think it was actually a question about refugee resettlement. And I think it was a very good question that the president didn’t answer because Neil Munro had the temerity. He was at the Daily Caller at that time and challenged the president. Now, of course, with President Trump if you don’t insult and challenge the president every day they don’t keep paying you.

But the article that Munro had then that night, November 8. The lead at Breitbart or the top story at Breitbart said he interviewed Robert Cahaly at the Trafalgar Group that had done poling in Michigan and Pennsylvania. And that night Cahaly said Trump will win Pennsylvania and Michigan. And guess what? He did.

McCabe: I did a story on a Michigan poll that I would try to interview people in the state if we were doing a state poll. And I remember talking to a guy in Western Pennsylvania who just said that it is insanely pro-Trump. Like I don’t see any Clinton signs.

A buddy of mine I went to college with who is still a state rep in Pennsylvania and he said in his district, part of his district was an urban area and the Democrats would always have the signs up ever since he was a kid. And he saw nothing for Clinton. And this is outside of Harrisburg. I think that people call it the shy Tory voter.

So that’s why the Boris Johnson, David Cameron Brexit polls are off in England because people lie to the pollsters and people lie to the pollsters now. And that’s why Pat Caddell would ask the issue questions. I think that Harris is not the best pick for Biden but it is the pick he had to make. And I think that’s going to be another problem for him.

Leahy: Neil. It will clearly help him win California which you know was in doubt. (Laughs)

McCabe: Yeah. Basically no one believes that Biden is going to live to see the end of his term. Some people don’t think he’ll I’ve to see the election. And so basically Kamala Harris is their candidate to be the next President of the United States.

And you have to wonder if there are going to be tensions inside the campaign. I think Jill Biden has gotten kind of used to deciding what Joe does and what Joe says. Jill Biden was probably looking forward to running the country through her sock puppet husband.

Leahy: Pulling a little bit of an Edith Wilson after Woodrow Wilson had his stroke in 1919, 1920.

McCabe: Exactly!

Leahy: I see a lot of that. By the way, do you think Joe Biden has now hired a food taster? (Laughter)

McCabe: I remember reading about the Edith Wilson stuff where the vice president every day or so would sort of wander around over at the White House. (Laughs)  

Leahy: Crom, jump in here. You get the last question.

Carmichael: Neil, of the choices that were on the table, who do you think would have helped? I don’t think that Kamala Harris helps Biden at all. In fact, I think that ultimately she may hurt him because if she does disagree with some of the things that he’s doing she’ll have a very very hard time keeping herself under control. If Biden stumbles along…

McCabe: The governor from Michigan. The governor of Michigan would have been a great pick. And obviously, dare I say it there are men that could have helped him. The one-woman of color that I thought might have a chance is of course the first woman of color to ever teach at Harvard Law School Elizabeth Warren.

Leahy: (Laughs) Yes. The woman of color with an asterisk.

McCabe: With high cheekbones and crab salad.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris” by Joe Biden.








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One Thought to “Neil W. McCabe on Polling and How Kamala Harris Is Not the Best Choice for Biden, But the One He Had to Make”

  1. CCW

    Is Kammala Harris even qualified to be elected VPOTUS?
    Check out the article from Newsweek below:

    The fact that Senator Kamala Harris has just been named the vice presidential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden has some people questioning her eligibility for the position. The 12th Amendment provides that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” And Article II of the Constitution specifies that “[n]o person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President.” Her father was (and is) a Jamaican national, her mother was from India, and neither was a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of Harris’ birth in 1964. That, according to these commentators, makes her not a “natural born citizen”—and therefore ineligible for the office of the president and, hence, ineligible for the office of the vice president.