Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Push Polls and Other Games

Things have heated up in the wonderful world of Maryland campaigns, with the Post featuring articles about mud slinging and our mailboxes full of mean pieces of paper. Now a MoCo Dem activist named Keith Berner is sharing a transcript he made of a push poll he got called for on Monday. Once you get down a bit it’s obvious whose poll this is – Steve Silverman’s. One of the interesting things is how many times Doug Duncan’s name is raised and the question “How important is it that next county executive be like Duncan?”

I’m skipping the early fluff questions. The push part of the poll comes from questions like:

Leggett says he supports for Purple Line, but has consistently voted against it, while Silverman has always supported the project. Does this make you more or less likely to support Leggett?
and
Leggett supports raising the gas tax to the highest in the nation. Does this make you more or less likely to support Leggett?
Then it gets worse:

On issue after issue Leggett says what people want to hear. For example, he said that he supports a massive increase in the gas tax, but has now backed away from it; he supported a massive new building project, but now doesn¹t; he supported using public money to buy supplies for private schools and has now backed away from this. Does this make you more or less likely to support Leggett?
Similar questions about the Purple Line, ICC, development, contributions from developers appear in the lengthy poll, hitting most of Silverman's key message points of late. So if you're not sure what a push poll is, this should clarify that while a legitimate poll asks you questions so that the client can understand what you care about, a push poll gives you information to get you to change your answers to get support for their clients. It's a questionable way to win votes, but ofen effective.

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