See update to this post: Is SEIU Behind Anti-Brown Push Polling?
I received this e-mail from a Massachusetts resident and businesswoman (and I verified her identity through publicly available sources), regarding a phone call she received last night:
I got an odd call last night that presented as a survey on the Kennedy election. I was willing to participate in the survey but was left with a bad feeling when it was over. Today I am hoping to let a few people know. I saw your blog.
They identified themselves as McGrath [sic – see below] from Denver but I was unable to find anything on Google. The questions were obnoxious; for example: “would knowing that hate groups support Scott Brown change you opinion of him?”.
They did not identify what a hate group was and today I wonder if they might be referring to a group to which I belong (one never knows in this environment when the ground may shift and you are left as a member of a hate group).
I’m not sure how to proceed, so I am just putting it out there. I’m really sick of politicians doing everything except telling us who they are when they run for office.
In a follow up, the e-mailer went into more detail about the call. The caller initially asked which candidate best represented the e-mailer’s views. After the e-mailer identified Brown, the caller asked one question about Coakley (whether knowing she was “a tax and spend” liberal would change the e-mailer’s mind) and then a series of negative questions about Brown:
“After this, there were 6 or 7 questions about Scott Brown that were framed the same way: if you knew he was a supporter of the Bush tax program, if he was supported by hate groups, etc.”
Calling the number brings up a fax ring tone. The number at one time belonged to a collection entity called “Northstar Location Services / Northstar Capitol” in Amherst, NY. I spoke with someone there who says they do not do political polling.
The number also has been attributed to “McGuire Research” of Colorado, which is an opinion surveying firm. The e-mailer thought the caller said “McGrath” but it may be that she misheard the caller, and that it was “McGuire.” McGuire has been accused of push polling in the past. I called McGuire, and I am waiting to hear back from them as to whether they would confirm or deny that they are doing polling in Massachusetts. I will update this post if I hear from them.
Regardless of who made the call, this technique is called “push polling” where under the guise of a poll the questioner tries to push the interviewee for or against a candidate.
The technique is meant to sow doubts in voters’ minds, and can be particularly effective against candidates with lower name recognition.
If Democrats have started push polling against Brown, that is a sure sign they are worried. And it is a sign that the last 10 days of the campaign will get quite nasty.
And PPP maps out the Democratic strategy, which may already have started with the push polling (emphasis mine):
Scott Brown’s favorables are up around 60%, a product of his having had the airwaves to himself for the last week. By comparison Bob McDonnell’s were at 55% right before his election and Chris Christie’s were only at 43%. Coakley’s campaign or outside groups need to tie Brown’s image to national Republicans and knock him down a notch over the final week of the campaign.
This has become a losable race for Democrats- but it could also be easily winnable if Coakley gets her act together for the last week of the campaign. Complacency is the Democrats’ biggest enemy at this point and something that needs to be overcome to avoid a potential disaster.
Update No. 2: Dan Riehl says McGuire connected to Democrat Bill Richardson. Hmmm. McGuire opening a call center in Roswell, NM. Out of this world.