Push Polling (1994); Bloomberger

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Feb 13 06:06:28 UTC 2004

   I just got home from work at 11:05 p.m.  Gotta be there at 8:30 a.m. 
tomorrow.  This is nuts.  I need a vacation.
PUSH POLLING--5,320 Google hits, 836 Google Group hits
   "Push polling" is not in OED and not on the Word Spy.  This article has 
made big internet news recently, although it may be a Kerry smear:
February 06, 2004
Rumor: A Kerry Affair & Push Polling

Rumor has it that John Kerry (D) is going to be outed by Time Magazine next 
week for having an affair with a 20 year old woman who remains unknown. The 
affair supposedly took place intermittently right up to Kerry's Fall 2002 
announcement of candidacy. At present, this is nothing more than a rumor; and after 
such sordid tactics as the "push polling" that took place in South Carolina in 
the 2000 elections, can such rumors be credible during campaign cycles? Could 
this create a Democratic backlash against Republicans for perceived 
Push Polling
Let's rewind history and study another rumor, one which cost Sen. John McCain 
(R-AZ) his candidacy in 2000. McCain was running a close campaign against 
George Bush in South Carolina, when Karl Rove introduced his brilliant strategy: 
push polling (Rove has been involved in push polling since the early 70s). 
Essentially, calls were made to households asking “Would you be more likely or 
less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an 
illegitimate black child?” Many took this to say that he had one, and seeing 
McCain and his wife on stage with their adopted Bangladeshi daughter, 
concluded that the rumor was true. The sight of the little dark skinned girl made the 
seed planted earlier grow, and McCain ended up losing South Carolina and 
subsequentially dropping out of the race.
So what does push polling have to do with a rumor of Kerry having an affair? 
Well some would argue that they are merely separate heads of the same beast. 
Pointing an indignant finger at the machinations of Karl Rove, the Bush 
administration's strategist who has a penchant for dispersing rumors, many on the 
Democrat side will claim that Rove is up to his old shenanigans and that the 
rumors have no basis. What caused McCain to lose in 2000 could inspire Democrats 
to rally behind Kerry, and lead to a major rift between the parties and brings 
the race to a closer finish. Theoretical, but plausible.
Echoes from Bubba
Any mention of a purported sexual scandal would be incomplete without 
bringing up the notorious ex-President William Jefferson Clinton. With a presidency 
overshadowed by allegations of oral sex, abuse of power, misconduct, and asking 
for clarification of the word "is", Clinton's legacy passed on a need for 
greater scrutiny of presidential candidates and tore down the veil that used to 
protect the private lives of most politicians. One could draw a parallel 
between Clinton's misconduct and Kerry's possible extra-marital relationship, there 
is no doubt. While many argued that Clinton's affairs were nobody's business 
except his own, others clamored that the President had an obligation to reflect 
moral clarity and to be a beacon of marriage values. Whether it was a valid 
impeachable offense or not was yet another matter to argue.
Push Me, Pull You
Karl Rove, if given the right opportunity, would without doubt pounce on this 
rumor, and has proven that tactics such as push polling do work. It may not 
matter if the rumor is true or is a complete fabrication, it will be used 
against Kerry now, and should he make it past the primaries and become the 
Democratic nominee (which appears to be with certainty), he will certainly have to 
fend these and other rumors. Push polling is not intended to get accurate results 
for candidates to use in speeches, it is intended to wound the image of the 
opposition. It is "push", because it should push the person into believing 
something that is specious or rumor (i.e.- “Would you be more likely or less 
likely to vote for John Kerry for president if you knew he had sex with an intern?”
). It conveys that the caller has juicy information, and wants you to know, 
but indemnifies itself from liability by phrasing it as a question. It is also 
intended to pull the person taking the "poll" into dropping their candidate and 
voting for the opposition, and many times does, but this year may be an 
occasion for a large disenfranchised voter base who is disillusioned and tired of 
shady politicking practices. There could be a backlash against both major 
parties, but it is not guaranteed. Whatever the outcome, both major candidates may 
be badly bruised and tarnished if they allow scandalmongering and 
surreptitious polling tactics to take precedence over running an on-message campaign based 
on policies, truth, and exhortations of their accomplishments.
Re: Push Polling
Dan You ask for definition of push polling. See Washigton post 9 October
1994, article by David Broder "Beware the push poll". It ... 
bit.listserv.politics - Mar 8, 1995 by Margaret Healy - View Thread (4 
RIP: Virginia HB 1065 is dead.
... will re-appear in some form, and I urge you to ponder in the meantime 
what we in
the profession SHOULD do about the problem of irresponsible push polling if 
we ... 
bit.listserv.por - Feb 1, 1995 by Thomas M. Guterbock - View Thread (1 
Campaign polling bill sent back to committee
... solicit your support and input about how this bill could be re-written so 
that it
would (1) introduce accountability to prevent abuses like push polling and (2 
bit.listserv.por - Jan 17, 1995 
Frederick Post - 5/30/1995  
...took office." The tactic is called "PUSH POLLING" because it aims to PUSH 
voters away.....are unlikely to admit defaming an opponent. PUSH POLLING tends 
to be used in local races.....of the information. Also, the results of a '
PUSH if released, give a seriously flawed and.....warning was issued last week, 
as legitimate POLLING starts getting under way in the 1996..
Frederick, Maryland Tuesday, May 30, 1995  615 k    
Gettysburg Times - 7/23/1996    
...t have enough money to buy advertising and PUSH POLLING. As proof, he 
compared the..
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Tuesday, July 23, 1996  533 k      
   "Burger Heaven" has just announced a new sandwich called the 
"Bloomberger," for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's birthday...(The meat is not 
   I don't know if this will be any better or worse than a "slider" or a 

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