Howard Schultz's own polling undermines case for his candidacy

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz addresses the "Race Together Program" during the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting March 18, 2015 in Seattle. (Stephen Brashear/Getty)
Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz addresses the "Race Together Program" during the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting March 18, 2015 in Seattle.

There hasn't been much in the way of national independent polling surrounding former Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz and his presidential ambitions, but the data that has been released suggests Americans are not clamoring for his leadership.

One recent report found, for example, that among people familiar with Schultz, only 4% had a favorable opinion of him. Another survey found the former Starbucks CEO helping improve Donald Trump's re-election prospects -- which is exactly what's driving Democratic anxiety about Schultz's interest in an independent presidential campaign.

It's against this backdrop that Schultz and his political team conducted its own poll, and NBC News reported on the results over the weekend:

New internal polling from former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz shows him pulling about 17 percent of the vote in hypothetical presidential matchups between President Trump and either Democrat Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.Schulz wins about 17 percent in each of the two ballot tests, new internal polling provided first to "Meet the Press" shows. In both, Trump leads the Democrat by a margin of 33 percent to 32 percent.

Evidently, the poll included responses from 1,500 likely voters nationwide -- a perfectly fine sample -- though Schultz's team didn't share the specific wording of the questions. (In a case like this, how Schultz, a fairly obscure public figure, was described to poll respondents matters.)

Nevertheless, it's curious that these figures were shared with the public at all.

In case this isn't obvious, when a political operation's offcials release internal data, it's usually because the results make them and their boss look better, not worse. Otherwise, there's no point. An operation has the option of simply keeping the discouraging results hidden from public view.

In this case, however, Team Schultz released the results of an internal poll that reinforce two fairly obvious conclusions: (1) the billionaire independent can't win; and (2) if Schultz runs anyway, Trump benefits.

During an event in Chicago last night, Schultz told an audience, "I promise I would do nothing whatsoever to be a spoiler to re-elect Donald Trump. Nobody wants to see this president leave office more than me."

Perhaps, then, it'd be a good idea for him to look at the results of his own poll?