Monday, October 30, 2006

Michael Steele's push poll

Long-time readers must be wondering when I was going to open my big mouth about the election. I was going to stay quiet. Really I was.

Until yesterday, when the nastiness reached through our telephone line and slapped the face of everything decent in this world.

Yesterday (during the Ravens game, no less) the phone rang. My husband picked it up and was confronted with an electronic voice that claimed to be part of an "independent political survey."

First it asked him which Maryland Senate candidate he planned to vote for in next week's election, Representative Ben Cardin (Democrat) or Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele (Republican pretending to be a Democrat).

Then it asked the following questions:
  • Do you want your taxes raised?
  • Do you believe medical experiments should be performed on unborn children?
  • Do you still beat your wife? (OK, not that one)
(Luckily, my husband already knew about the poll and was prepared with a list of answers not repeatable on a family blog. I love that man.)

This, ladies and gents, is known as a push poll--a particularly sneaky and scurrilous form of negative campaigning. It's not designed to take your opinion. It's designed to form your opinion by linking one candidate with clearly abhorrent choices.

The push poll is considered so repulsive, no candidate's campaign will conduct one themselves, but will instead have other organizations do it for them. The most notorious example occurred in the 2000 Republican primary, in which South Carolina voters were asked:
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?

For the record, McCain and his wife had adopted a child from Bangladesh. Also for the record, a frozen embryo that will be thrown away if not used for stem cell research is not an "unborn child."

But the truth doesn't matter to these people, not as much as winning. Reports are coming in from all over the country that desperate candidates are resorting to this most devious form of mudslinging.

If you receive one of these kinds of calls, hang up, or better yet, vote for the candidate the push poll is attacking.




Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/30/2006 10:21 PM

My mom and I have already voted. And we are keeping our phones turned off so they can call us, but all they'll get is the answering machine.:-)

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/31/2006 5:25 AM

I just voted now! Feeling the sweet high of democracy.

And, as always, wondering what the hell the Clerk of the Court of Orphans does.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/31/2006 7:49 AM

Just read that Bob Menendez is seriously ahead of Tom Kean in New Jersey. I sincerely hope that's in reaction to the ethnic surs in a recent Keane ad called Tehe Politicos. You get the picture. I'll bet The Sons of Italy will protest that ad. So sleazy.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/31/2006 10:00 AM

I though Menendez was Hispanic. Is this like in '04 when that crazy bastard from Kentucky said his Italian-American opponent looked like Saddam Hussein?

You'd think our country would be past this kind of BS, where everyone who isn't of lily white complexion gets painted as a scary monster.

I'm so glad the negative attacks seem to be backfiring, in NJ, in VA, and apparently here in MD, too.

But the only poll that matters is next Tuesday's. Studies show that negative campaigning works. We'll see if that holds true this year.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/31/2006 2:36 PM

Yes, Menendez is hispanic, which make the ad even more odious, if possible.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/31/2006 4:15 PM

Yeah I remember hearing about them doing that. They didn't call her. We'd already voted actually so it's a waste of a call.

That is really annoying though. Also too it's really stupid. Call up people and what not and at the last minute try and make them look like an idiot or bad person. Kinda counter productive. And, especially, when you are trying to annoy smart alecks. If that was me I'd actually tell them I'm voting the other way and actually do it. -grins-

Posted by: Blogger GeekyDad at 12/02/2006 7:10 AM

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