NH Pollster: ‘Our Polling Schedule is Determined by CNN’

Before Debates, Dark Money is Stifling Debate Within The Democratic Party

Jake Mercier
Aug 29 · 4 min read
Tulsi Gabbard during the second Democratic presidential debate in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

In an exclusive comment to CitizenSource, the University of New Hampshire Survey Center — one of the only DNC-approved pollsters in New Hampshire (due to the fact that they are “partners” with CNN) — explained why they wouldn’t be conducting a poll this month in the battleground state before the crucial September debate. Director Andrew E. Smith responded:

“The UNH Survey Center is funded by grants and contracts. We have contracted with CNN during this primary cycle as we have since 2000. Our polling schedule is determined by CNN and their polling budget.”

Mr. Smith, just a few days before, told a Tulsi Gabbard supporter that they would be happy to conduct a poll “if someone was willing to pay the $50,000 cost,” a cost that CNN usually covers.

Interestingly enough, Tulsi Gabbard routinely polls well above 2% in New Hampshire — just behind Pete Buttigieg in the state, polling in 6th place at an average of 3.3% (according to Real Clear Politics).

Why is CNN — a company that has previously been caught colluding with the DNC to ask predetermined questions to then-candidate Hillary Clinton — not providing the necessary funding for a poll in one of the most important battleground states until October? How are other DNC-approved pollsters deciding when to release them?

Tulsi is polling above Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang, Julián Castro, and Cory Booker in New Hampshire — all candidates that will be on the next debate stage.

Moreover, she is polling higher than billionaire Tom Steyer, who is pouring millions of dollars into battleground states.

It’s no secret that the Democratic establishment fears presidential candidates like Tulsi Gabbard. It’s also no secret that they are perfectly willing to pull the necessary strings to determine the outcome of an election (remember 2016?).

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate for president, with voters in New Hampshire.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, on the heels of a 2-week long military deployment to Indonesia that put her campaign on hold (and that the media largely ignored), was greeted back to the States with the news that she wouldn’t be participating in the next Democratic presidential debate — she didn’t receive more than 2% since the last debate in four “DNC-approved” polls.

Tulsi’s campaign, while still continuing to reach out to voters to share the candidate’s message, released a statement addressing the lack of transparency from the DNC:

Rep. Gabbard has exceeded 2% support in 26 national and early state polls, but only two of them are on the DNC’s “certified” list. Many of the uncertified polls, including those conducted by highly reputable organizations such as The Economist and the Boston Globe, are ranked by Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight as more accurate than some DNC “certified” polls.

According to journalist Michael Tracey,

Gabbard has [also] polled at 2% or more in two polls sponsored by the two largest newspapers in two early primary states, but the DNC — through its mysteriously incoherent selection process — has determined that these surveys do not count toward her debate eligibility. Without these exclusions, Gabbard would have already qualified.

Despite the campaign’s repeated calls for transparency from the DNC in their poll-approval process, there has been relative silence from the organization.

Photo courtesy of Tulsi 2020.

Gabbard, who stepped down from her position as vice-chair of the DNC in 2016 over concerns that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was unfairly rigging the primary against Bernie Sanders—and who wasn’t afraid to say that she “doesn’t fear the Clinton’s” on national television at the time—has been under the thumb of party bosses and funding machines since.

Her strong stances against the military-industrial complex and opposition to regime change wars, while advocating for an America First foreign policy that promotes peace is, unsurprisingly, not popular in Washington.

CitizenSource has reached out to similar early-state approved polling organizations, but we have yet to receive any responses.

Jake Mercier is a filmmaker, writer, and the founding Editor-in-Chief of CitizenSource, writing with a focus on U.S. politics, foreign intervention, national security, and privacy issues. He resides in Washington, D.C.


News and analysis, by and for citizens — not the mainstream media.

Jake Mercier

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Independent Journalist. Writing about politics, foreign policy, and film! Editor of @CitizenSource — news analysis by and for citizens, not the establishment.


News and analysis, by and for citizens — not the mainstream media.