The manager of Donald Trump's reelection campaign declared modern polling "the biggest joke in politics" - perpetuating an effort by the president and his allies to downplay the significance of recent surveys showing him lagging behind several Democratic 2020 rivals.
"The country is too complex now just to call a couple hundred people and ask them what they think. There are so many ways and different people that are going to show up to vote now," Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign chief, told CBS News in an interview taped Tuesday.
"The way turnout now works and the abilities that we have to turn out voters, the polling can't understand that, and that's why it was so wrong in 2016. It was 100 percent wrong. Nobody got it right. Not one public poll," Parscale said.
"And the reason why is it's not 1962 anymore. It's not a place where there's only a few ways and decisions and every[one] lines up to vote like a good old American. Now there's a lot of distractions from going to vote. The world's changed."
Parscale's remarks came hours before Trump's rally Tuesday evening in Orlando, Fla., where he formally announced his bid for a second term in the White House. A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday, also ahead of the president's formal launch event, showed Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders among registered voters in the nation's largest swing state.
"None of these polls mean anything," Parscale said. "It's the biggest joke in politics. It's the fakest thing. It's the fakest thing."
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also sought to de-emphasize the importance of polling 17 months ahead of the general election, telling Fox News in an interview Monday that "it's way too early to be looking at" surveys of the 2020 landscape.
"I think the Democrats should be looking at them because that gets them on the debate stage and they have to make numbers to get on the debate stage for their primary," McDaniel said.
Trump echoed that message Monday, writing on Twitter that while "Only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew" of Democratic contenders, "it is far too early to be focused on that."
But the president appeared to concede he was underperforming on Wednesday.
"If I didn't have the Phony Witch Hunt going on for 3 years, and if the Fake News Media and their partner in Crime, the Democrats, would have played it straight, I would be way up in the Polls right now - with our Economy, winning by 20 points," Trump tweeted. "But I'm winning anyway!"
Asked Tuesday by CBS why 2020 polling has thus far irritated Trump if the surveys are indeed inaccurate, Parscale responded: "You have to ask him that."
"Because the media makes it look like they matter," he added. "They don't."
Trump's campaign recently cut ties with three pollsters following the dissemination of a damaging internal poll showing the president lagging behind Biden in key battleground states.