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Thursday, June 22, 2006

PA-07: ALERT: Sestak a Victim of Push-Polling?

Posted by DavidNYC

Passing on an alert from the Joe Sestak campaign, for those who live in the district:

A supporter called in and said that he was just surveyed about the election, and was asked VERY negative slanted questions about Joe.

If you get polled, please take notes, and ask who sponsored to poll. Get back to us with the info (info@sestakforcongress.com, or 610-891-8956). They must be nervous!

If enough people document such a poll in action, we can make these kind of tactics backfire.

And of course, if you somehow are able to actually RECORD such a phone call, you'd be a hero. I personally think the Internet makes it harder to get away with push polling like this because the response time is so fast. In the past, it might be days before anyone realized what was going on. Now, we can mobilize instantly - and we stand a better chance of catching the SOBs who are doing this.

So please, pass this along to anyone you know who might live in the district.

UPDATE: Uh, maybe you don't wanna try taping anything, actually. As several commenters point out, PA is one of the few states that prohibits recording phone calls without the consent of ALL parties. Hey, I'm busy studying New York law!

Posted at 09:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Technorati

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FYI, if you go to RadioShack or Staples or any store like that, you can buy a recording adapter for your plug-in (ie. NOT cordless) phone for under $10, and a basic microcassette recorder for under $10, too. I use these things from time to time for the purposes of journalism and interviews. If you have one plugged in to your receiver, you can pretty much be ready to record anything on a moment's notice. I'm not saying that you should all go out and buy these items to document a push poll that you may never get, but they can be handy if you think they'd meet a variety of your personal and professional needs.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2006 10:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Be careful if you tape. In many states, it is illegal to tape a phone call unless both parties consent. I do not know about PA.

Posted by: hilltopper [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2006 11:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Ah, that is true. I only use mine for consensual interviews.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2006 11:16 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

DavidNYC, you must have missed that day in law school. Pennsylvania is one of the (minority) of states that requires both parties to consent to the recording of a call. According to a pertinent web site:

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. Sec. 5704(4) with the following exception: any individual may record a phone conversation without the other party's consent if:
  1. The non-consenting party threatens the life or physical well being of the consenting party, or any member of his/her family.
  2. The non-consenting party commits any criminal action (the statute specifically uses the example of telling the consenting party that they have marijuana they want the consenter to buy, but does state ANY criminal act).
  3. Felony penalties may be imposed for violation of the Pennsylvania statute

Actually, I take that back. Electing Republicans clearly violates #1.

Posted by: nobodyforpresident [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2006 11:51 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It's worth remembering that candidate benchmark polls are often mistaken for push polls. If a very negative statement comes in the middle of a long battery of questions, it's probablly a benchmark poll. If it's a short poll consisting primarily of negative statments, its probablly a push poll.

However, recording (or taking notes on) the opposition's benchmark poll is even more valuable for a campaign then recording a push poll. Knowing the questions in an opponent's benchmark poll gives a campaign key insights into the strengths, weaknesses, and prospective lines of attack a campaign will engage in.

So record, or take notes on, any poll you take. It could help elect a Democrat.

Posted by: dantheman [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 23, 2006 11:16 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Ya gotta remember that the PA GOP is in a little bit of dissarray, the primaries here in May took the head off of the best, so in the absense of leadership (not that they knew what it was to begin with)it doesn't surprise me that more radical elements start to come out of the woodwork.

In the PA-09th it's no different but we're a little better off as the incumbant isn't popular and all it will take for us to win here is a little support.
Learn more at Tonybarr2006.com

Posted by: DvilleDem [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 23, 2006 01:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

So...record the phone call and then transcribe it, and destroy the recording.

Also...in what way does a push poller have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

Posted by: The Woo [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 23, 2006 04:15 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Pennsylvania is thinking about adding "Republican Elected Officials" to their list of endangered species after the Nov. election. The primary really put a scare in the GOP here in Pa. The special election for state senate in a district the includes parts of Gerlach's and Weldon's district elected a D for the first time in 100 years. He won gathering 41% of the Republican votes. Ouch! Let's face it, us moderate Republican's hate the dog crap we run for these offices. It will be just a total cleaning by the whole electorate. As a good Republican all my life I say "Let's go Rendell, Casey, and Murphy"!

Posted by: ModGOP [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 23, 2006 08:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm with man the man. In any benchmark/baseline survey worth squat, you're going to measure your opponent's as well as your client's vulnerabilities.

The trick is to keep it as even-handed as possible, ask as much bad stuff about your dog in the fight as the opponent. of course, sometimes one candidate carries a lot more baggage and it's impossible to make it sound even. If one guy eats babies and the other had two speeding tickets...well, you can't balance out.

But the questions measuring the stuff you intend to whack on the other fellow or defend your own are always asked after all your true read questions. You may tack on a revote after the positives and negatives...but that's just to get a notion of how much damage you can do or have done to you (and to have some better numbers to relase for some coverage and prime the fundraising pump).

Very frequently respondents complain this is push-polling. It ain't. Why would you only call 400, 600, or 800 people then bury the hit 12 minutes into a fifteen minute survey?

Nahh, if you're going to do a push-poll, you call a lot of folks and get to the dirt real quick. The point isn't to measure opinion; it's to shape it by spreading info.

A classic example is the Lawton Chiles hit on Jeb Bush in 1994. The Chiles campaign hired banks to call hundreds of thousands of seniors to tell them Jeb was going to take away their social secuirty and medicare. Now, they didn't quite explain how a governor could take away a federal program...but Chiles jumped from a few points behind to a few ahead. The stink didn't really hit until after the elction.

Push polls are very short and very large. And you sure as hell do not run one when there's still time for the opponent to respond and boomerang it back at you. This sounds like an internal.

The campaign should be wary of pushing this. Make the accusation but then move one. If they engage fully on this they're just begging the press to ask for relase of the text of their own internals.

Posted by: pinhickdrew [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 12:10 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment