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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is Mayor Creepy running a recall push poll already?

A reader whom I don't know writes:

Last night I got a push poll all about Sam Adams. It took about 15 minutes to answer all the questions. After several questions about Sam, the next question was, knowing this information are you more like[ly] to support Sam.

Comments (27)

Ugh. This again.

People continue to misunderstand the difference between a legit poll and a push poll.

I'm not on Sam's campaign team, so I'm not privy to what they might be doing polling-wise. Here's some general information:

A push poll isn't a poll at all. It's a message-delivery phone call that's disguised to look like a poll. Often, they say scurrilous things about a candidate, posed as questions for later deniability.

Such as, "If you knew that Congressman Jones had strangled a puppy, would it make you more or less likely to vote for him?"

In legitimate polling, the purpose is to test messages. Something like, say, "Congressman Jones voted to raise taxes on large out-of-state corporations. Knowing that, are you more or less likely to vote for him?"

That's called message testing. The key is that the opening statement is true.

How can you tell if it's push poll or a regular poll? Stay on the phone. If it lasts for more than 30-60 seconds, it's not a push poll.

Why? Because a push poll is designed to deliver a single negative message. In order to affect the outcome of a race, you have to deliver tens of thousands of them -- and long calls are expensive.

If it's a legit poll, they're going to test lots of messages, and it's going to take 4-5 minutes - maybe even 10. (And they're only going to call 400-600 people, since that's all you need.)

Final thoughts: #1 There'd be no point in doing a push-poll until much closer to the recall election, and #2 Sam Adams is vastly likely to be the victim of a push poll. After all, who the heck would his campaign be attacking?! It's not even plausible that there would be a push poll right now, much less that it's coming from the guy they're trying to recall.

Push polling is sleazy and unethical. On all the dozens of campaigns I've been part of, I've never known anyone to even suggest it as a tactic. Throwing around baseless accusations - based on a misunderstanding - cheapens the meaning of "push poll". It gives people the impression that it happens all the time in politics, when it just doesn't.

If there were a push poll going down in this town hitting 50,000 to 100,000 voters, you wouldn't get one complaint email -- you'd get dozens. And so would every reporter in town.

Push polling is sleazy and unethical. On all the dozens of campaigns I've been part of, I've never known anyone to even suggest it as a tactic.

"My clients are angels." Too funny. "Ugh. This again," indeed.

You can put whatever label on this you want. If Adams already has people calling voters and trying to influence them, it raises a lot of questions. The first of which is where he's getting his money.

Even though Kari is on the left, thanks for the straightforward explanation of this sleazy tactic by Scoutmaster Sam.

Hi Kari,

Just to let you know that our Recall is a positive campaign. We would never participate or support a push poll against Adams.

Jack ask a very good question. The person who was polled called me right after they got off the phone with the pollster. It was a 15 min live body poll which cost ~25K.

I guess that our little Recall campaign has someone worried enough to drop some serious cash to perfect 'messaging' for Adams. I say this because one of the questions was reportedly about if the person would sign the Recall petition and how they would vote in a Recall. Granted, I was in the middle of training Recall volunteer signature gathers and did not have much time to take notes.

I can only hope that the days of Adams supporters painting me as just some 'dumb bible thumping homophobic college student' are finally over. I guess that messaging is not working and it is time to try something else.

I really wish Adams would save our city the financial and emotional cost of a Recall and do the honorable thing... that would be resigning.
Jasun Wurster

Push polling is extremely successful, just ask Karl Rove.

The first of which is where he's getting his money.


He's getting his money from the rents he collects on two rental homes. It's pure profit, until the bank forecloses.

Jasun - Where is the money for the recall campaign coming from? I think Adams is a slimeball and in bed with developers but I don't care about the Breedlove drama. Given that I don't care to be associated with the religious right (Lucifer's advocate and all) I will sit on the sidelines (i.e. not sign any petitions) until this comes up for a vote. In my mind, politics make not only strange bed-fellows but sometimes downright ugly ones.

"Throwing around baseless accusations - based on a misunderstanding - "

Just like what you do to every Republican officeholder on BO Kari.

Hi LucsAdvo,

We are very open with our finances. If you go to the front page of our webpage and click on the ORESTAR link this will answer your questions.

I do ask that if you want Adams removed from office that you collect signatures from your friends and neighbors. We need all of those sitting on the sidelines to be a part of this game for us to succeed.

It is Adams' supporters who have wrongfully painted this campaign as being associated with the religious right. They did this to spread disinformation to prevent people from volunteering. Please do not believe their lies and help us change Portland politics.

Together we will make our government better,
Jasun Wurster

Push polling is sleazy and unethical. On all the dozens of campaigns I've been part of, I've never known anyone to even suggest it as a tactic.

Just because something isn't a "push poll" as defined by campaign consultants doesn't mean it's not sleazy and unethical. Kari, you worked for Greg Macpherson in his run for AG. I received a polling call from Greg's campaign. It wasn't a "push poll" by the technical definition, but it consisted of three parts: 1) Here are a few positive things about Kroger -- how does that affect your thinking? 2) Here are a whole lot of negative things about Kroger -- how does that affect your thinking? 3) Here are a whole lot of positive things about Macpherson -- how does that affect your thinking? End of poll.

I specifically said to the caller, "Wait, I think you forgot the negatives about Macpherson." He laughed, said that wasn't part of his script.

Kari, it's the dissembling you do above that makes people disgusted with politics. Do you really believe your own BS? Messaging polls are fine, but do them honestly or don't do them at all.

Nuts. I think I may have received one of those calls around 8:00 last night, asking me if I could answer some questions in a survey. I get a lot of consumer-survey based calls since I used to enjoy the occasional focus group. Anyhow, this call sounded very unprofessional with no upfront introduction of the name of the company doing the survey, etc. So when I cut in midstream with, "Please take my name off your list," There was a short pause and then a curt, "well fine" or something like that. Not the usual "Sorry to have disturbed you," or whatever. Can't be sure, but I may have missed my chance for some fun if I'd stayed on. Pretty lame stuff.

And LucsAdvo: All the miscreants in our society are dependent on and grateful for your apathy.

It is possible that Paulson is doing the polling -- his boondoggle is at risk.

There are several other stakeholders' groups who want to hang onto Sam-I-Scam, too.

Why do people spend their time for free and answer those polls truthfully -- if they do -- anyway? Baaa baaaa.

1. It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle.

2. A [field] operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.

3. Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate.

Sun Tzu

He will have to disclose the source of the funds for this polling. Don't forget that he took Sho Donzono to task for failing to disclose the financial information for his early polling. When we know who is paying for it we will have lots of questions answered as to who or what is driving the Sam Adams engine.

I reviewed the documents necessary to get people to sign. Aside from some dreadful typos (no excuse with spell check), I was particularly troubled by the insistence that "You agree not to collect signatures from individuals who goals are to remove
Sam Adams from office based on sexual orientation or religious social conservative reasons." Should the gatherers care/be privy to/spend the time to find out this information? Really, I wanted to sign this document and I even considered getting a few neighbors to sign, but the Wurster method is incredibly off-putting. I'm guessing the small number of volunteers who showed up for training is indicative of where this will go, due to lousy management. I almost want Sam to stay in office because I have this sinking feeling Wurster's gonna run.

"Because a push poll is designed to deliver a single negative message."

Puh-leeze, Sam is the master of nasty backbites, what makes you think if he had someone on the line for 15 minutes he wouldn't use every bit of innuendo he could to make himslef look good.

Remember, he handled this whole thing from the get-go when he could of said no comment and spent a two weeks and a long drawn out testament declaring his innocence and smearing Bob Ball.

In addition to Steve's comments, let's remember Sam interrupted the presidential inauguration to deliver his "apology."

These 4 videos deserve careful review. I don't think ethical considerations are part of Sam's agenda.

Alan Cordle,

Honestly, please stop trying to take the focus off of Sam Adams' willful lies to get elected, orchestration of an elaborate cover-up and abuse of power.

This Recall is about holding Sam Adams accountable for his actions... not Alan Cordle's issues with Jasun Wurster.

I am not trying to put you off... I am running a positive campaign that is focused on ethical and civic transgressions.
Jasun Wurster

remember Sam interrupted the presidential inauguration to deliver his "apology."

Ha! I nearly forgot. Only Adams would try to upstage Obama by being an emotional mess. So sad.

UMM , in this day and age , only old people have landlines that pollsters can call.

I signed the petition to Recall Sam!

Jasun Wurster wrote:

Just to let you know that our Recall is a positive campaign. We would never participate or support a push poll against Adams.

Sorry if I implied otherwise. It would be a political disaster to attempt one.

Jack ask a very good question. The person who was polled called me right after they got off the phone with the pollster. It was a 15 min live body poll which cost ~25K.

15 minutes, eh? That tells you that it's not a push poll. If calling 400 people with a 15-minute calls costs some $25,000 (which sounds about right) - calling 100,000 would cost $6.25 million.

Trust me, ain't nobody doing a 15-minute push poll around here and going unnoticed.

And yes, any campaign expenditure should be disclosed properly according to Oregon law.

ain't nobody doing a 15-minute push poll around here and going unnoticed.

What the Adams people did was noticed, all right.

Kari, since you know so much about this poll-whether push or not, why don't you post it here, and let us decide whether your esteem political interpretation is correct? Dare you.

The Big 'O' reports that the polling stopped last week, but my wife just received a 20 question / statement telephone poll last night. Ten "positives" about Sam Adumbs and whether that influences for or against a recall and ten "negatives" asking the same. Methinks this is an Adumbs ploy to gauge how to strike a chord with the fence sitters.

The key "negative" about the recall that spurred my wife? "Are you for or against the recall knowing that it will cost $350,000?"

Kari, since you know so much about this poll-whether push or not, why don't you post it here, and let us decide whether your esteem political interpretation is correct?

I don't know a damn thing about it. I'm just telling you what I know about how campaigns conduct and use legitimate polls, and how they're different than push "polls".

Ten "positives" about Sam Adumbs and whether that influences for or against a recall and ten "negatives" asking the same. Methinks this is an Adumbs ploy to gauge how to strike a chord with the fence sitters.

Yup, that's exactly what a legitimate poll would sound like -- and a very reasonable strategic goal. (Though we'd call it "uncovering messages that appeal to undecided voters.")

Not a push poll, folks.

Who cares? It's still a poll. It still has messages for the listener. And where is the Orestar disclosure? Creepy.

Who cares? It's still a poll.

My point exactly. It's a poll. No big deal.

And where is the Orestar disclosure?

Presumably in the 30-day disclosure window.


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