Monday, October 30, 2006

I Was Push-Polled -- If you've read about this on the internet, Republicans have suddenly started an election campaign push, by going after registered Democrats. The calls have been reported in several states, inculding Missouri, where stem cells are a big part of the call, Montana, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland -- all are reporting similar calls. Push polls are character assassinations masquerading as legitimate polls -- they are designed to identify issues that might flip your vote and then present the most outrageous statements about the opposition possible, to "push" you in the direction of their favored candidate. There is no intention of collecting research information about voter preferences -- the intent is only to identify voters that can can be 'pushed' (or shoved) in the right direction. Sometimes, these calls can be used to motivate the party faithful, but, in this case, they are being directed at members of the opposition party.

So, my phone rang, and I looked at the Caller ID - I only answered the phone because caller ID said it was "P Research 2006." I assumed this was Pew Research Foundation, and was expecting a legitimate poll. However, I was dumbstruck by the actual questions that followed my saying I intended to vote for Cardin. Yes, I got the Maryland call -- the one that asked if I "wanted my taxes raised or, if possible, lowered?" (It's possible that I was asked if I would vote for a candidate who would raise my taxes or one who, if possible, would lower them -- but I think I'm quoting it correctly in the first instance).

Here's where it gets a little interesting. I was literally dumbstruck by the question, and while I struggled for a response, the recording went on to the next question: whether I was in favor of striking the words "under" God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. Again, I was made mute by the sheer audacity of the question. Then, the recording announced the poll would end even if I did not answer all the questions. All I could say was "Good!" The call ended with the recording urging me to check out the "common sense" website. I didn't hang around for the complete URL.

Others have reported that if they answer the loaded questions, the recording proceeds with a stern admonishment about the terrible things Ben Cardin will do. I guess I avoided the song and dance about what Ben Cardin would do to my taxes or to the moral fabric of America -- I should be happy about that, because I can sleep soundly tonight, without worrying about the nightmare ahead, since I intend to vote for Cardin.

Here's another source for first-hand accounts on the Steele push-polling: . More accounts are at:

No comments: