Push Polling. The lowest form of political dirty tricks has come to the Opt Out campaign. The American Association of Public Opinion Research defines push polling as:
… an insidious form of negative campaigning, disguised as a political poll. “Push polls” are not surveys at all, but rather unethical political telemarketing — telephone calls disguised as research that aim to persuade large numbers of voters and affect election outcomes, rather than measure opinions.
Now MEA members are being mislead by phone calls with blocked caller ID. They are asked:
- Are you an MEA member?
- Do you support the union?
- How would your support change if you knew it supported pro-choice candidates?
- How would your support change if you knew it supported taking away gun rights?
- How would your support change if you knew it supported tax increases over spending reform?
- How would your support change if you knew the average member paid around $1,000 in dues?
- Do you know you can only opt out in August?
- Do you want more information on how to opt out?
Every one of the “would your support change” questions are premised on a lie.
- The MEA funds no candidates. Such support is illegal.
- It’s a manufactured myth that the MEA has ever taken a position on either gun control or abortion, it hasn’t.
- It recommends candidates on both sides of these questions, so long as they support public education.
- The MEA supports restoring funding cuts to classrooms, including from spending reforms.
- MEA dues are capped hundreds of dollars below the $1,000 level.
When asked, the “pollster” will say s/he is working for company called CSI Research. This is almost certainly a lie. In 2012, a push poll in Alabama used the same answer in a race between two Republicans vying for, of all things, the Public Service Commission, “CSI Research” pushed callers away from supporting one of the Republicans. Those calls came from cell phones in Washington DC.
Who’s behind this? Whoever it is, they are careful to use an out-of-state company, that in turn uses a phoney name to insulate themselves from an identifiable client.
In 2008, a group called Common Sense Issues funded a push poll that told South Carolina voters John McCain “supports experiments on unborn children.” It seems unlikely this is the same group, but given the opaque regulations protecting corporate spending, we’ll never know.