#ReleaseThePoll Trends After Des Moines Register and CNN Cancel Release of Survey Before Iowa Caucus

The decision by The Des Moines Register and CNN to cancel the release of one of the most pivotal polls of the Democratic Party presidential primaries has prompted #ReleaseThePoll to trend online.

Twitter users rallied behind the hashtag after the outlets and pollster Selzer & Co. abandoned the release of the Iowa poll on Saturday night. The move came after the presidential campaign office of former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg learned he was not named in at least one phone call to a potential Iowa Democratic caucus-goer.

Brianna Westbrook, vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, was among those who expressed their concern on Twitter.

"For the first time in 76 years, the Des Moines Register is not releasing the final poll before the Iowa caucuses," she wrote in a tweet, beneath which others used the hashtag #ReleaseThePoll.

For the first time in 76 years, the Des Moines Register is not releasing the final poll before the Iowa caucuses. 🤔
https://t.co/7Q3U3Z6P8i

— Brianna Westbrook (@BWestbrookAZ8) February 2, 2020

The survey was the final poll scheduled for release by The Des Moines Register before the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses on Monday. The survey is widely regarded as an important part of the election cycle for its potential influence on voters. CNN responded by cancelling an hour-long special dedicated to the poll results, The Guardian reported.

South Bend mayor, Democratic presidential candidate,  Pete Buttigieg
Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign event held at the Loras College Fieldhouse on February 1, 2020 in Dubuque, Iowa. Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses will be held on February 3. Joe Raedle/Getty

Lis Smith, a senior adviser to the Buttigieg campaign, tweeted, "Our campaign received a report from a recipient of the Iowa Poll call, raising concerns that not every candidate was named by the interviewer when asked who they support.

"We shared this with the organizations behind the poll, who conducted an internal investigation and determined not to release it. We applaud CNN and the Des Moines Register for their integrity."

Since people are asking:

Our campaign received a report from a recipient of the Iowa Poll call, raising concerns that not every candidate was named by the interviewer when asked who they support (1/2)

— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) February 2, 2020

Carol Hunter, executive editor of The Des Moines Register, explained in a statement why the newspaper, CNN and Selzer & Co. had decided against releasing the final part of the poll. "Nothing is more important to the Register and its polling partners than the integrity of the Iowa Poll," she said.

"Today, a respondent raised an issue with the way the survey was administered, which could have compromised the results of the poll. It appears a candidate's name was omitted in at least one interview in which the respondent was asked to name their preferred candidate."

Hunter said that while only one respondent appeared to have been affected, "we cannot confirm that with certainty. Therefore, the partners made the difficult decision to not to move forward with releasing the Iowa Poll."

She added, "It is imperative whenever an Iowa Poll is released that there is confidence that the data accurately reflects Iowans' opinions."

David Chalian, political director at CNN, said according to The Guardian, that the network had been notified of a potential error. But as CNN and The Des Moines Register were uncertain about what happened, they declined to release the poll "out of an abundance of caution."

Citing two unnamed sources with links to the poll, Politico reported that an interviewer at the call center where the survey was based may have cut off a name of the randomized list of candidates after enlarging the font size on their monitor.