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For The Thousandth Time: Don't Call Them 'Push Polls'

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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 08:23 AM
Original message
For The Thousandth Time: Don't Call Them 'Push Polls'
Polls are methodologically rigorous public opinion surveys of generally 500 to 1,000 people intended to learn about and measure voters opinions and test possible campaign messages. Advocacy telephone calls, on the other hand, are made to tens of thousands of people and are intended to create or change opinion.

-snip

The term push poll never should have entered our lexicon, since it does nothing but confuse two very different and totally unrelated uses of the telephone.

As I have argued every year for the past five and apparently will have to continue doing until I have taken my last breath, push polls are really advocacy calls aimed at thousands of recipients. They are like television or radio ads, except they are delivered over the telephone. They seek to convey positive or negative information to influence a voters final vote decision.

-snip

Petri seems concerned about telephone calls that include very negative information about a candidate for office. This kind of information can be part of an advocacy telephone call or part of a legitimate poll. When they are in a real survey, they are known as push questions, because they seek to measure which questions actually push voter sentiment and which issues can be used by a candidate to win a race.

Push questions are not the same thing as push polls. Push questions, which are included in a survey of only 500 to 1,000 respondents, are a legitimate part of a public opinion poll that seeks to test effective messages.


More

http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2007/03/f...

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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 08:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. "Push" polls take the form of
1) How would you rate candidate X? Very favorable...

2) How would you rate candidate X if you knew that candidate X rapes babies, killed his own grandmother and is a Democrat? Very favorable...

Then the results are released as some kind of fact that takes the form of "once voters became aware..."

I guess the "push" part means the question is changed and an issue is "pushed" out there. I think they have some legitimacy in that they can reveal what does the most damage to an opponent, if they are done legitimately and statistically correct.
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robcon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
2. Please don't tell me what to call them
Your 'impatience' (or whatever it is) with those who call those push polls what they are, push polls, is pathetic.
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Are you under the impression I wrote and titled the piece?
Your rudeness is pathetic.
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IA_Seth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. Who is pathetic?
The person that posts an op-ed he didn't write, or the person that calls people names without actually reading the linked article?
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Spangle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
3. Push polls are negative campain
Telling voters things they wouldn't put on tv or print. Not all of it is factual, but the listner thinks it is. The canidate doesn't know what was said, hence doesn't know he/she needs to respond. Persons who do this, usually quickly state who they are 'with' and that is quickly forgotten.

IT's being swift boated, by phone.
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BeyondGeography Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
4. Just a pile of careerist crap
We don't "push" anything, we do "advocacy." The type of conversational re-branding that gives us "private equity" instead of "leveraged buy out" and "right-sizing" instead of "downsizing." Bullshit.
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. I don't agree, BG
There is a definitional difference in sample size, collection and analysis of data, both negative and positive, and a refinement of message as a result, conducted under an accepted methodology. It is not the same as throwing a message, whether negative or positive, out over the phone lines to tens of thousands of recipients and collecting little if any data. The second is a "push poll" generally used way late in the primaries. The first is message test polling and commonly used by major candidates throughout the primaries.
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BeyondGeography Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. To read this piece, there is no such thing as push polling
and a lot of hiding behind the non-threatening term of "advocacy."
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. I don't see the problem with the word "advocacy"
Advocating issues or candidates is what all campaigns are doing.

I think the point Rothenberg is clarifying, though, is about the confusion between "push questions" and "push polling."

This is from Campaigns & Elections:.

Journalists, university professors, employees of research firms, staff of local and statewide candidates and even U.S. representatives and senators have made statements about push polling that reflect a lack of understanding of them. The confusion usually comes from the proper use by campaigns and pollsters of survey questions designed to test negative campaign messages. This practice has been called "push questioning" by Christopher Arterton, dean of George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, and "negative polling" by Bruce Blakeman, former vice president of The Wirthlin Group's political research division.

"Push questions" are widely used throughout the research industry, whereas push polling is not. Push questions -- as opposed to so-called "push polling" -- are recognized by all the major associations and leading political consultants as a valid and legitimate research tool for the purposes of testing ad messages and examining the collective viewpoints of electorate subgroups.

Political analyst Charlie Cook recently observed that "'Push questions' are asked containing attacks on the candidate sponsoring the poll, to test how vulnerable that candidate may be against anticipated attacks from the other party. These are not only legitimate tools of survey research, but any political pollster who did not use them would be doing their clients a real disservice."

The problem is that the questions used in push polls often sound similar to those used as push questions to test campaign messages in legitimate polls. This is done intentionally to camouflage the true nature of the push poll. As a result, many respondents who are interviewed, opponents who are attacked or journalists covering the race in question often lump push questions and "push polling" together in the same category. Today, pollsters are often accused of conducting push polling when they are, in fact, conducting legitimate research.


http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2519/is_4_21/ai_...

I boldened the part I did because I think we have to realize that by mischaracterizing legitimate polling tools used by all candidates we might turn out hurting our own candidate (whoever that is) in the long run.

I guess I am a bit stymied by the insistence of so many DUers to call the disputed test poll a "push poll" when it's not a push poll.
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terisan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
8. Push polls: people misrepresenting themselves as pollsters in order to gain political advantage
They operate using outright lies and innuendo.
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. I remember one in NH in the 2004 primaries
It came to light when a legitimate polling firm started hearing from older voters that they had already been called the night before and told they would not be eligible to vote because they had missed some kind of deadline, which was untrue. However, what also tagged it as a push poll was when those leaning Dean were told they would be in fact eligible to vote, after all. As far as I know, it was never determined if or not the Dean campaign was runninig this push poll, and I'm not saying that, it could easily have been Repukes out to screw things up for their own purposes. But somebody was pretending to be a legitimate polling group and peddling an outright lie to influence the election.
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I received one of those types of calls
AFTER the fall elections here, and it was so weird, since it was someone trying to figure out which ousted RW Rep. was the "most palatable" to Dems for the next County exec. election.

It was really odd and unpleasant and I gave the pollster an earful.

So, I guess it wasn't a push poll, just a poll?

and thanks for the definition, I was curious about how these things worked.
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. It sounds like just a poll to me
Although it would have pissed me off, too, to get that call.

You're welcome.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
9. Push polls are also used to manufacture false "data"..
When a question is clearly slanted to elicit a particular answer, they are gathering data that they intend to present as legitimate, statistical opinions of the electorate.

If you find yourself being asked a question and you think "Who the heck could ever respond yes to that?" you are being 'pushed' into a particular column in the checklist...

(Would you support public testing of the water supply if it were shown than the testing procedure would murder puppies?)
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 06:49 PM
Response to Original message
15. Just read this on Politico
-snip

"Maybe they've just let this 'Sopranos' thing go to their heads -- whack, whack, whack," joked Paul Maslin, Bill Richardson's pollster, referring to a recent Clinton video spoofing the HBO television series about mobsters.

He hastened to add, however, that despite bloggers' impressions, testing negative messages is a standard political practice aimed at getting information, not persuading voters.

"The questions are legitimate," Maslin said, and the research will help the front-runner Clinton campaign "sit at the top of the hill and shoot at whatever comes at them."

Indeed, much of negative message testing is typically aimed at gauging the weaknesses of one's own candidate.

"We test negative issues in the news on her," said a Clinton adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Neither the Obama nor the Edwards campaign would say whether it has tested negative messages this year. Penn has been polling for the Clintons since their White House days, when they famously used polls to help determine their vacation spot.

"Most people in the media don't understand the polling process, which involves testing arguments to determine what's going to be the most effective way to communicate a message," said Penn's former partner, Doug Schoen.


http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0607/4696.html


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