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Trump-allied America First Policies spends big on polling. Here are 24 of their internal reports

  • CNBC has compiled a large set of internal polls from pro-Trump nonprofit group America First Policies.
  • The group initially claimed to CNBC that it tries to make its polling information available on its website whenever possible.
  • But after CNBC's story ran, the group removed all but three of the 14 reports that had previously been hidden in plain sight. Many documents are still available online, however.
President Donald Trump
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President Donald Trump

As CNBC reported Thursday, the pro-Trump dark money group America First Policies is conducting a large-scale polling operation that one expert called "a shadow campaign" for President Donald Trump.

The group initially claimed to CNBC that it tries to make its polling information available on its website whenever possible. But after CNBC's story ran, America First Policies removed all but three of the 14 reports that had previously been hidden in plain sight, behind an inconspicuous button at the bottom of America First Policies' website.

Many of these documents are still available online, however, as are several America First Policies reports and polls dating back to June 2017, and covering nearly every major issue that has crossed the president's desk over the past six months.

CNBC has compiled the best of these reports below, starting with the most recent. Taken together, they offer a unique window into what this shadowy pro-Trump group knows about the president's priorities, about voters like you, and about the long-term direction of the Trump agenda.

FEBRUARY

National Poll Survey Results
This 17-page series of questions and answers is filled with interesting details from the current news cycle, as well a few worrisome signs about how tax reform is playing out among voters, and what the public thinks of Trump's handling of White House personnel issues. On those two topics alone, America FIrst Policies learned that A) only 41 percent of Americans know anyone who has benefited personally from the tax reform bill, and that B) not even a leading question can make Americans approve of Trump's response to the resignation of Rob Porter.

National Poll Results Report
This document may not appear at first, but it's an 84-page slide presentation that contains the same data as the survey, only easier to understand and more compelling in color. It can be downloaded via the Download button as a Keynote file, then converted to PDF using either an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

JANUARY

Immigration Memo
This memo sums up the immigration-related results of the December national survey. They reflect, among other things, continued public skepticism that building a wall on the southern border is the right way to protect America from undocumented immigration. For a fuller picture of these findings, see the December National Results file, below.

National Trends Among Women
This 16-page polling report surveys the state of female electorate, and specifically how women respond to Trump and the GOP. Its overarching recommendation? Republicans should pass some token bipartisan legislation in Congress to help them win the support of women on other, more "important," issues.

Paid Family Leave Survey Results
This survey shows overwhelming support for mandatory paid maternity leave, and even more support when companies providing that leave get tax breaks for it. If the White House is, in fact, looking for an issue that could help Republicans win support among women, this could be it.

"Fire and Fury" Report
When Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" first came out in January, the Trump team conducted a flash report on how the media was reacting to the White House response. The day this report was conducted, Trump's lawyers were working furiously to keep the book, and its embarrassing revelations about Trump, off the shelves.

DACA Negotiations Report
America First Policies did another snap report in mid-January on how the media and influencers were responding to Trump's role in the negotiations over a government shutdown and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

DECEMBER

December National Results
This 55-page report contains the results of America First Policies' large national poll from early December. Along with data on immigration reform and infrastructure, it shows that more than two months before this week's tariff announcements, the Trump team was already concerned with Trump's low approval numbers for his handling of "trade deals." At the time they wrote, "Note the positive correlation that the President has with the stock market's gains. We might be able to tie this in to his handling of the economy in general and trade deals in particular to grow those attributes as well."

Raw December Results Plus Six Months of Comparison Data
These are the survey questions, marked "Confidential," that America First Policies pollsters asked voters in December. Just as importantly, included here are six months of results for the questions they asked in every poll, such as Trump's approval ratings or their impressions of both Democratic and Republican political figures. Noteworthy: More than a year after the 2016 presidential election, Trump pollsters were still asking voters about Hillary Clinton.

Jerusalem Embassy Announcement
This snap report in December gauged media and influencers' responses to Trump's announcement that the U.S. would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. One interesting finding: The report notes that former Obama ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro "would serve as a valuable potential advisor to the President."

NOVEMBER

Alabama Research Memo and Alabama Voter Survey
In mid-November, the White House and congressionals Republicans were reeling after The Washington Post reported on allegations that Republican Alabama Senate Nominee Roy Moore had engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with teenagers when he was in his thirties.
America First Policies polled the race then, and the results were troubling. Voters knew about the allegations, and Democrat Doug Jones was forecast to win against Moore and every Republican write-in prospect they polled, save for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Alabama Nov. 29 Confidential Survey
Two weeks later, a second AFP poll showed Moore even with Democrat Doug Jones. After weeks of waffling, Trump formally endorsed Moore a few days after that poll, on December 4, a move that triggered the RNC to begin pumping money into Moore's race. Moore lost.

North Korea Terror Announcement
When Trump announced that he would designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, in November, something perplexed the team at America First Policies: Why this announcement got more retweets than Trump's declaration of a public health emergency for the opioid crisis. "Overall, the topic has played well for the President even though he did not publish any tweets about the designation," reads this Nov. 21 report.

OCTOBER

Analysis of 3-Part Tax Reform Testing
This October report reveals results from two kinds of surveys that America First Policies doesn't always use, but which it used this fall to conduct research on tax reform: A focus group of Trump voters and separate polling in red states and blue states. Among other things, Trump voters told researchers they did not approve of Trump's attacks on the National Football League: "I don't want to decide whether or not I like football or not," said a participant named Eric.

SEPTEMBER

Tax Reform Results
This 43-page visual report from September contains fascinating clues to many of the building blocks that helped Republicans sell tax reform over the next three months, from testing who voters thought was to blame for their dissatisfaction with the tax system, to testing how well voters like lines from Trump speeches.

GOP Tax Plan Announcement
This flash survey from the days around Trump's Sept. 29 release of the GOP tax reform plan gave the Trump team a sense of how far they still had to go to sell the tax plan to the public. According to the report, "22% of the conversation volume stated that the Tax Reform plan benefits the wealthy and will result in the "rich getting richer." Less than 1% of conversation volume described the plan as a "middle class miracle."

AUGUST

National Immigration Reform Poll Results
This 34-page series of results from an August poll offered a first glimpse of what would become large parts of the Trump administration's plan for immigration reform. For example, there was strong support for the line, "We should first secure our borders before passing any immigration reforms," which was used frequently last fall. But support was weakest for arguments that were cultural, such as "Immigration is occurring too much and changing American culture and values in a way I don't like."

National Tax Reform Focus Groups Analysis
Also in August, focus groups were helping to inform White House and congressional Republican talking points on tax reform. Here's one example in this report: "For filing your taxes, a simple page of paper works, a postcard does not." Participants didn't believe the long-held GOP mantra that you could file your taxes on a postcard. Soon after, Trump started talking about a single sheet of paper, not a postcard.

Trump Announcement of Afghanistan Strategy
This flash report on media and influencers' responses to Trump's Aug. 21 speech on U.S. Afghanistan strategy shows how carefully America First Policies is tracking positive, negative and neutral responses to the president across media platforms. Here, they note that conservative outlets aren't being as friendly as usual to the president.

Trump's Handling of Hurricane Harvey
This flash media in late August tracked and catalogued the reactions of influential people and news outlets to Trump's handling of Hurricane Harvey during its first few days after making landfall in Texas. The findings are unsurprising, but the specificity of these reports, and how carefully they measure every tweet, is fascinating.

Trump Announcement of Afghanistan Strategy
This flash report on media and influencers' responses to Trump's Aug. 21 speech on U.S. Afghanistan strategy shows how carefully America First Policies is tracking positive, negative and neutral responses to the president across media platforms. Here, they note that conservative outlets aren't being as friendly as usual to the president.

JUNE

Tax Reform Poll Results
This poll was one of the earliest tax reform polls conducted by America First Policies, back in June. It contains examples of messages that could have been used to sell tax reform, but were ultimately not employed by the White House, like this one: Tax reform will "Make it easier to pay for college by streamlining the maze of education tax benefits."

Health Care Poll Results
As the push to repeal Obamacare was reaching its apex, America First Policies commissioned this poll to test both messaging and positions on the Affordable Care Act. What they learned cannot have come as good news: Only 28 percent of voters, or less than a third supported the full repeal of Obamacare that Republicans were trying to pass.

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