09 May 2007

"Push Polling" and Louisiana Attorney General Race

Last night, I received a phone call for a person who was conducting a political opinion poll related to Royal Alexander, Charles Foti, and the Louisiana Attorney General race.

After a few minutes, it became very clear that this poll wasn't a real poll but rather a "push poll" being conducted by Mr. Alexander's campaign or by a group sympathetic to Mr. Alexander's campaign.

A "push poll" is defined as:
" ... a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. Push polls are generally viewed as a form of negative campaigning."
This so-called "poll" asked a few questions about my familiarity with Charles Foti, Royal Alexander, and the Attorney General election. The pollster then went on to read a series of statements that portrayed Mr. Foti in a negative light (e.g. arresting medical professionals for engaging in euthanasia and "playing God" in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath and then not pressing charges against these folks) and would then if the statement would affect my opinion of Mr. Foti.

After a few statements, I asked the pollster if this was a "push poll" and she refused to answer my question. I then said that I would not participate in this type of negative campaigning.

I think this is a newsworthy issue and I'll probably write a letter to the editor about this negative campaigning.

5 comments:

ted said...

Yes! Absolutely. Let the smearing begin!

Anonymous said...

People say alot of things. Do you have any actual proof that Alexander was connected or are you simply trying to drive a good man from the race based on conjecture, assumption and political wishful thinking? Is gathering proof before defaming too inconvenient?

Steve Caldwell said...

Anonymous wrote:
"People say alot of things. Do you have any actual proof that Alexander was connected ... "

To clarify here, I didn't say that Mr. Alexander's campaign was engaged in a "push poll." Here's what I wrote:

" ... a "push poll" being conducted by Mr. Alexander's campaign or by a group sympathetic to Mr. Alexander's campaign"

The alleged "poll" sounded like a "push poll" -- the questions about the statements related to Mr. Foti's performance as the Attorney General were not neutral and no statements about Mr. Alexander's public service performance came up in the poll.

This push poll could be the work of a group sympathetic to Mr. Alexander. If I were Mr. Alexander, I would try to get this group to stop the push poll tactics. All it's going to do is taint Mr. Alexander's reputation.

Maybe Mr. Alexander can try to uncover the origins of this push poll that was done on his behalf?

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? Are you honestly going to pretend that Foti and Caldwell are not notorious for this type of thing? I am amazed by your ready willingness to mislead and smear with no evidence.

Anonymous said...

My wife has received at least 5 calls from some automated dialer asking her to vote for Foti. Ths is nowhere near the number we've been getting asking us to vote for Bobby Jindal, but it's still highly annoying. I find push-polls even more offensive, but I think these (and the automated messages) tend to have the effect of making people vote against the candidate they're pushing. I won't be voting for Jindal or Foti for a variety of reasons, but this gave me extra encouragement to vote against them.