Sunday, July 16, 2006

Johnson Push Polling?

Reports have been circling around the blogosphere from 5th District residents who received phone calls on Saturday from individuals conducting blatant push polls. Although the individuals did not identify themselves, it was clear from the questions they asked that they supported Nancy Johnson and were attempting to smear her opponent, Chris Murphy. For those not familiar with push polls, they are phone calls in which the caller uses the guise of conducting a poll in order to slander an opponent, usually by making completely untrue attacks against the person. Push polls are not at all interested in obtaining any actual information from the voter, but rather are an attempt to influence the voter's opinion by creating a negative image of the opponent. You may recall the infamous example that occurred in South Carolina during the 2000 Republican Presidential Primary. Bush campaign strategists developed a push poll to smear John McCain which asked voters if they would be more or less likely to vote for McCain if they knew that he had fathered an illegitimate black child. Obviously this was not true, but that does not matter to the pollster, who is simply looking to plant seeds of doubt in the voter's mind.

While there is no way of knowing for sure if Saturday's push polls were created by the Johnson campaign, I certainly wouldn't put it past them. Time after time Republicans have demonstrated a win at any cost mentality. The GOP has shown that they are more than willing to play dirty, and push polls are just one means of doing so. Push polling is completely unethical and tarnishes the entire electoral process. The only positive of this is that it shows just how scared the Johnson people are. For them to be conducting push polls so early in the election must mean that they have received some very bad internal poll numbers. This can only be interpreted as a sign of desperation, and that the Johnson campaign is realizing just how vulnerable they are. The Johnson campaign is likely to only get nastier as we move closer to November. No matter what dirty tricks Nancy Johnson attempts to use in this campaign, she will not be able to run from her record. Connecticut voters are seeing Johnson for the out of touch Washington politician that she is, and will not be fooled into supporting her once again.

(To see more about this push poll from someone who actually received one of the phone calls, check out inkadu's post over on My Left Nutmeg)

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