Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Push polling...

In the first half of 2009 I heard whispers of Kay doing anti Rick push polling not so much from Rick's peeps but really from just regular Republicans who had received the calls. When I pressed them for more information it became obvious that these were not push polls they were basic message testing. They included postives and negatives about both candidates. Just because there was negative information about Rick in the polls doesn't mean that they are push polls. It was just Kay being in a field testing out how to cut down Rick most effectively... apparently their polling zoned in on "Rick is playing politics with his appointments" as their most effective attack.

I have been around enough campaigns to know that the first instinct is to yell and scream "PUSH POLL, NO FAIR" at the other side when you hear about a poll with negative information about your candidate. Good journalists will push back at these accusations unless they have actual proof of something evil going on. Here is what Hans Klingler of Team Kay sent out last night...

TO: Team Kay Supporters

FROM: Hans Klingler, Political Director, Team Kay

Re: Negative "Push" Polling

DATE: October 19, 2009

Tonight, Team Kay has received numerous reports from our supporters who have received deceptive phone solicitations from a firm claiming to be conducting a legitimate poll. The questions being posed are obviously meant to disparage the Team Kay effort through vicious mistruths and falsehoods. If you receive a call this evening or throughout the day tomorrow, please alert us and please try to take detailed notes about these calls.

Fortunately, we have a hunch as to the origin of these calls and know dirty tactics are not anything new in a race as important as this. We also know our opposition will stop at nothing to deflect attention away from the negative national media storm swirling around their campaign.

Please let us know if you receive one of these calls. As always thank you for your support.

Burka has some of the alleged questions from this alleged push poll up in a blog on Texas Monthly...

– Would you be more or less likely to vote for Hutchison if you knew that Hutchison had passed $2 billion worth of earmarks for entities her husband’s law firm as represented?

– Would you be more or less likely to vote for Hutchison if you knew that she was absent for a vote on partial birth abortions and received thanks from a pro-choice group?

– Would you be more or less likely to vote for Perry if he were to advocate stopping waste, fraud, and corruption in Austin by establishing an office of state inspector-general?

– Would you be more or less likely to vote for Perry if he were to propose criminal penalties for employers who hire illegal aliens?

– Would you be more or less inclined to vote for Perry if he were to propose a new program to provide extra revenue to failing schools?

– Would you be more or less inclined to vote for Hutchison if you knew that she opposes more federal spending but since she’s been a senator, federal spending has more than doubled?

Yeah none of those are push poll questions. None of them are even close to push poll questions...

Even so, we don't know the total set of questions... did they offer anything positive about Kay or anything negative about Rick? Possibly. Who knows...

A push poll question would be something more like...

Would you be more or less inclined to vote for Rick if you knew that he murdered his first and second wives and molests children? Thanks. CLICK, hang up.


Would you be more or less inclined to vote for Kay if you knew that she had once been a member of the Communist Party and smokes meth at night to relieve her severe mental illness? Thanks. CLICK, hang up.

Those would be push poll questions in the negative connotation of the phrase. Those are obviously exaggerated examples but they are not testing messages, they would be trying to inject rumors and innuendo never intended to appear in any campaign advertisement into the minds of voters en masse...

One of the earliest campaigns I worked on was the target of a push poll. The weekend before voting there was a poll that asked if people would be more or less likely to vote for my candidate if they knew he didn't believe in One God but rather worshipped many Gods. That one came out of thin air but he was Catholic and our district was a very Baptist district so I guess that is where they were going with it. From what we could figure at that time the "poll" took about 2-3 minutes on average and went out to approximately 25% of our entire district.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.