Push Polling: Another Way To Wage Negative Campaigns

We are all bombarded with calls during an election year from myriad representatives of candidates. For the most part, there is some disclosure of whom the caller is representing.  A push poller is someone who interactively markets by calling voters during political campaigning. Push Polling isn’t illegal, except in New Hampshire, which requires a disclosure of which candidate they represent. Mainly it is used to plant negative ideas in voters’ heads. Bush 43 used it to discredit McCain in the 2000 primaries. True, Democrats use this as well, once causing NH Senator Ayotte to file a suit against Mountain West in 2010, where they paid a $20,000 fine for non-disclosure.

The individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of voters under the guise of conducting a poll as a non-partisan polling company.  ‘Push polls’ require first fooling the listener into believing the poll is legitimate and once the listener is hooked, the pollster asks loaded questions designed to spread rumors and falsehoods about the opponent.’ I was actually on the receiving end of one of their polling calls from the Mountain West Research Polling group, and it was definitely a new experience.

NV Senate District 8 Democratic Candidate Marilyn Dondero Loop
NV Senate District 8 Democratic Candidate Marilyn Dondero Loop

Innocuously it began with rate your level of support questions for Patricia Farley (R) (always named first) or Marilyn Dondero Loop (D). The pollster, who did identify himself as a Mountain West Research Independent, (after I had to ask several times), soldiered on as I allowed this twenty-three minute call to continue. I was not interested in the District 8 state senate race until the caller phrased a few questions like:

You know that Obamacare is bankrupting Nevada. How important is repealing the ACA to you? (10 for most, 1 for least).

The “Margin Tax” (a tax designed to fund education by business netting over $1,000,000 annually) will force companies to pay job-killing taxes that will cause lay offs. Do you oppose this tax that will fund education on the backs of Nevada’s job-creators?

I said, ‘you sure are asking questions in a manner I find both misleading and offensive.  I don’t recall the specific wording, but this next one knocked me over. ‘Do you fear your Second Amendment Rights are threatened?’ (10-very important down to 1-not at all important), and I replied, ‘whoa, this is nuts. Guns have no rights. People do. Please don’t insult my intelligence.’ The call was finally over after a few standard pleasantries.

The only statistic I needed to know about this newly intriguing race was each candidate’s NRA rating. Marilyn Dondero Loop has a 21 rating by the NRA while GOP candidate Farley is rated at 86. That’s all I needed to make my decision to support, wholeheartedly, my Democratic Candidate, DonderoLoopNV. I predict many more persistent NV-GOP push pollers ringing my house incessantly until November.

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