Thursday, May 02, 2013

Nasty developments in the South Carolina special House election

By Richard K. Barry

Push polling is a campaign technique that ranges from being a mildly disingenuous practice to downright despicable. It involves a group calling voters under the guise of conducting a legitimate poll, only to ask questions that leave a voter with a very misleading impression that an opposing candidate is in some way unacceptable.

A shadowy group called SSI Polling has been calling voters in South Carolina ahead of the special House election between Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Republican Mark Sanford. 


According to ThinkProgress, the questions asked "ranged from outlandish smears to thinly-veiled Republican talking points." The approach varied somewhat from call to call, but these were some of the "questions" asked:

- "What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?" 

- "What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you a judge held her in contempt of court at her divorce proceedings?" 

- "What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?" 

- "What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?" 

- "What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she supported the failed stimulus plan?" 

- "What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you unions contributed to her campaign?"

Isn't that amazing? They never actually accuse Colbert Busch of having had an abortion, or being held in contempt by a judge, or having done jail time, etc., but the impression the voters takes away is unmistakable. 


Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens in South Carolina. The most famous instance was a push poll done by Karl Rove for George W. Bush against John McCain in 2000 during the GOP presidential nomination contest.

As described by Daily Kos, it went like this:

Bush's campaign strategists, including Karl Rove, devised a push poll against John McCain. 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?". They had no interest in the actual percentages in the poll, the goal was to suggest that [McCain had a black child]. This was particularly vicious since McCain was campaining with his adopted [dark skinned] Bangladeshi daughter.

Politics, eh?

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home