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MD/TN Calls: More From TPMMuckraker

Topics: Push "Polls"

One last update (for tonight at least) on the "Push Poll" story we have been following today.  TPMMuckraker's Justin Rood reports tonight on an interview with Zeke Smith of Common Sense Ohio, "the man responsible" for the calls into Maryland and Tennesee, and similar efforts in Montana and Ohio.   In the interview, Smith confirmed that "his group uses a firm called ccAdvertising to make his calls," and offers a defense of their tactic.  Surprise, surprise: They don't consider it "push polling."

He defended his group's questions ("Do you want your taxes raised?"). "Push polls" are used to spread negative information about a candidate, and are rarely used to collect respondent's answers.

The questions used "accurate characterizations," Smith said, and insisted his group was legitimately engaged in "data collection."

"There are a fair number of things that are unpleasant to talk about," Smith said. "But that doesn't make [our questions] any less accurate."

Listen to the recording of one of the Tennessee calls provided by Tom Woods of the Nashville Post and come to your own conclusions about the accuracy of their characterizations.

And then consider that we are dealing with a new variant of high-tech push polling.  Like the push "polls" of old, there are no samples involved.  They contact as many households as possible (how many calls do you think they had to make to reach two lines in Tom Wood's residence?).  They use the guise of a public opinion poll to lure votres into listeing to the sort of distorted negative "messages" that benefiting campaigns will never publicly embrace.  And then they add a new twist:  As long as they cover it with the fig leaf of "data collection," all is legitmate.

Nonesense. This effort has nothing to do with research. It is about mass communication conducted under the false guise of a survey. Just listen to Gabriel Joseph of ccAdvertising talk about his services (as quoted by Daniel Schulman in Mother Jones):

"When you make 3 ½ million phone calls a day, we generally talk to more people than watch television, listen to the radio, or read the newspaper combined." He paused, then added quietly, "If someone writes something that I don't like, I can make their life—I can make them understand a few things if I choose."

 

Comments
JimB:

I got a push poll in my email yesterday. They aked a lot of q's that could only be answered one way.
I told them to f**k off.

____________________

I got this same call -- same issues, same wording -- last year in Virginia, in connection with the state legislative races. At that time, it was paid for by Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.

I got it again last week, paid for by "Survey 2006."

____________________

John Sully:

I got the Montana call 3 times! Answers:

1) Tester
2) Perhaps
3) No
4) Hell No!

____________________

bronx:

This story on epluribusmedia has information about the people behind this.

http://scoop.epluribusmedia.org/

____________________



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