Clinton Push Polls Begin in North Carolina

It appears that the Clinton campaign or its surrogates have begun a push poll effort in North Carolina. My friend Justin sent me a message after he received a call earlier this week. He gave me permission to print his description of the call here.

Here's an excerpt:

After a handful of general questions (the last of which was "What have you heard about Barack Obama lately?"), the dude spent probably close to half an hour asking me whether various statements would make me more or less likely to vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. About halfway through, I started taking notes (he finished just as I got out my microphone to try to record it). Here's a summary of the stuff he asked:

Subjects of Negative Statements about Obama:
Spiritual adviser (This was the first one...I thought it was especially sleazy that they started with this)
Nuclear weapons
Tax records
Experience (variation on the 3am thing)

Subjects of Positive Statements about Clinton (I got most of these):
Commander in Chief
Economy
Drug companies
Special interests
Subsidies
Health care
Green power
Experience (another variation on the 3am thing)

He started with about 5 negative statements about Obama (I didn't start taking notes until after this, so I missed some), then went to about 8 or so positive statements about Clinton, then finished with two or three negative statements about Obama sandwiched around (I think, though I can't be sure - I was definitely starting to blank out a bit) one positive statement about Obama.

I told him that each statement made me somewhat less likely to vote for Clinton/somewhat more likely to vote for Obama. No idea if that was the right tactic or not...

Has anyone else received a similar call?

What do you think about Justin's response? How should someone respond to a push poll?

Comments

do you have an audio

recording of this call?

No.

Justin took notes by hand. But I can put you in touch with him if you want. Send me a private message with your email address.

and what evidence do you have that this

was orchestrated by the clinton campaign? did a disclaimer at the end or the beginning of the telephone call indicate that this telephone call was paid for by the clinton campaign or by hilly clinton for president? a 527 or an independent organization may be responsible for these calls. this is why we should always be careful with such allegations, especially as multiple groups have been placing calls in the other states in which primaries have occurred.

Read my opening quote

It appears that the Clinton campaign or its surrogates have begun a push poll effort in North Carolina.

It might not be here campaign, but it sure wasn't Obama's.

but you are assuming

this is the case, and there is no evidence to support your assertion. and a 527 or an independent research organization may not be a surrogate or an arm of any of these campaigns. having had worked in south carolina, i know many independent groups are placing telephone calls.

I Laughed.

Ha.
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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

How long was the call?

General rule of thumb is that if you are on the phone for more than one or two minutes its not a push poll.

30 minutes of questions is an actual poll.

A push poll is 2-3 questions long, doesnt ask any demographic information and is sent to thousands and thousands of people.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

Kitchen Sink poll?

Could this be some kind of "throw out all the negatives we've got to see which one sticks in NC?" kind of poll? Though, I guess in a way, that would be a legitimate kind of poll...but if this really is going on, it would seem fishy. Maybe we'll get an audio recording.

there is no evidence

to support the notion that clinton is responsible for this purported telephone call.

More from Justin

Here are some answers from Justin:

The poll was very, very long - probably around 30 minutes (the second half of the UNC-Clemson game had just started when he called, and it was almost over when I got off the phone). Most of the "comments" were very long - more like paragraphs. It was long enough that I asked, about halfway through, how many more comments he was going to want feedback on. He said he wasn't sure - that the length depended on my answers. So it's possible that my answers that each comment made me slightly more likely to vote for Obama extended the call somehow.

Also, I'm honestly not sure how many people would have made it through the whole call - I was exhausted by the end. I'm extremely (perhaps ridiculously) patient with unsolicited calls (routinely taking 15 minutes surveys during dinner, that kind of thing) and I might have hung up without finishing if I wasn't interested in the purpose behind the call and taking notes.

The opening questions were along the lines of "Do you plan to vote in the upcoming Democratic presidential primary?" "Whom do you support?" "Could your vote be swayed?" (The answers were "Yes", "Obama", and "Yes", respectively.) I believe that there were also a couple questions about my opinions about Obama & Clinton - who would be better in what areas, that kind of thing. I really thought it was a normal poll at the beginning, and was even giving it the benefit of the doubt after the first shot or two at Obama - I kept thinking that parallel shots at Hillary were coming up. It wasn't until they got to the third or fourth negative comment about him - and I realized that an unbiased poll would never open with so many focused on one candidate - that I started getting suspicious.
They did ask for demographic information at the end.

I don't have an audio recording. I didn't remember that I had a computer microphone until near the end, and even then it seemed impossible that it would go on another minute. As it turned out, I plugged it in as he wrapped up the last question. It was the classic "when you want it to stop, it won't, but when you want it to continue, it stops" kind of situation.

I have no idea who it was making the call - we can all speculate - but there's no way it was anyone interested in Obama winning the nomination.

The suggestion that it could be a "'throw out all the negatives we've got to see which one sticks in NC' kind of poll" makes some sense if push polls are typically short and given that they asked demographic questions. But given that it opened with what I found to be the nastiest and least-substantive of all of the subjects covered (Obama's pastor), I find it hard to believe that at least part of the goal wasn't to damage Obama's reputation and/or enhance Hillary's.

the gossip

This is the kind of gossip smear diary that makes the recommended list at Kos. It's always some allegation and over there hundreds immediately jump on an repeat old Republican talking points about how "the Clintons" will do anything to win. There either remain unproven or they're proven false, but the 'damage' is done, so much so that that site has lost all credibility. I commend this site for a rational discussion of how this is implausible. Obviously such a thing would not help Hillary, she's got a record she wants to run on and plans, such as her Iraq exit plan speech she gave Monday that Fox news called 'left of Obama.' We need to talk about real stuff, which one of these two great candidates is best prepared and capable of delivering.

Hillary - Alternative Energy

It isn't gossip if it happened

Are you saying this person did not get polled by phone as they claim?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

It's not gossip.

I know it seems funny that I'm posting it for someone else. Give the guy a break, he has a 2 month old baby. And you can check my credibility based on my participation on this site and people who know me personally. I'm just reporting how the campaign is playing out locally. If you think it's smear on Clinton, then you might want to consider what it says about her campaign.

Real stuff: Which candidate can lead us to a new type of politics where tactics like this are eschewed in favor of real policy discussions and changes? Can you convince us that Clinton will lead us away from this type of political discourse?

The bottom line is that

The bottom line is that there is no proof that the call/poll originated from the Clinton campaign, its surrogates, or even its supporters. It could just as easily be from the McCain campaign, its surrogates, or its supporters. Or, it could be from some other group with an ax to grind or an interest in the primary.

However, I don't agree that it is implausible. Clinton's recently appointed NC political director is well-known (and respected) in political circles for his tactics.

But it's true...

"the Clintons" will do anything to win.

If not "do" anything, they will certainly "say" whatever they need to win. That's a big reason I don't trust them. If I had a decent idea of what they really believed in instead of what they say they believe in order to win, I might feel differently about them.

And no, it is not because of someone's talking points I feel that way. I picked it up by listening to Bill way back in 92 when he was seeking the Dem nomination. I asked myself, "how can he appeal to so many people who seem to be different from me politically?" I listened harder and more often and realized he was a master at telling different audiences what they wanted to hear even if that led to conflicting positions on the same or similar issues. My suspicions were later backed up by Bill's heavy reliance on focus groups to set policy.

I'm sorry, I've been busy lately, but....

who are you? And, why are you calling into question the morality of one of our long-time posters who is also a tireless advocate for North Carolina's children?

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

she's someone who hasn't been here long enough to know

that Graig is a long-time member of the community. There is no way to know if you are new here. Some folks join a community and step lightly long enough to figure out how things work, some jump right in and fit perfectly with little effort and then some jump in, step all over toes because they don't plan to stick around long and don't care about the rest of us. They have an agenda and as soon as it is met they will leave. It's best to ignore these folks.......or eviscerate them. ;-)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I'm new here too...

But I figured out right away that you could at least see how long someone's account existed on the site. (In this case, Graig for over a year, anna for 3 days).

Thanks =D

Glad to be here!

OK....so there is a way to know

how long someone has been registered, but some folks are just now joining in. They might have been registered for over a year, but they haven't been participating for that long. Graig, of course, has been hanging with us.

Anna shane doesn't care though....I guess that was really what I was trying to say.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Drive-by Politics

Hey, it's primary season and there is a campaign in town.

I get the feeling we'll have a lot more drive-by pundits, armed with their talking points, repeating their daily memes, and pasting their perfectly practiced pitches across each and every blog. Maybe a few will stick around long enough to engage in discussion, maybe a few will contribute and enlighten in a meaningful fashion, and maybe a few will provide just enough target practice for entertainment. Hopefully we'll avoid those few that fail the Turing Test.

It is the blessing and curse of the forum, so we should probably consider ourselves fortunate that the campaigns recognize this particular forum as a good place to find progressive politics and people.

Re: Drive-by politics

On 2008-03-19T21:37:19+0000, Dan B wrote:

Hopefully we'll avoid those few that fail the Turing Test.

Why do you feel that Hopefully we'll avoid those few that fail the Turing Test.?

blogresponder[18852] general protection rip:2a9581cbe5 rsp:7fbffff200 error:0 (Success)

--
relocating from Indianapolis, IN to RTP, NC soon; got any advice for me?

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

--
Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Target practice?

Heh...I'm in enough trouble already. I'd better let the rest of you take shots at 'em.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I think that journalists should take note.

The Presidential Primary wars started on Daily Kos back in the summer of 2007. The primary wars here in North Carolina have just begun. If you are looking for indicators of when people start paying attention to elections, I think this is a legitimate one.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I knew this sounded familiar

The LA Times did a story on a very similar poll in California earlier this year, which they (probably wrongfully labeled) a push poll:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/02/breaking-news-p.html

Every question about the other candidates was negative. If Ed knew, for instance, that as a state senator Obama had voted "present" 43 times instead of taking a yes or no stand "for what he believed," would Ed be more or less likely to vote for him?

"That's when I caught on," said Coghlan. He realized then that he was being push-polled.

This one was quite long too, at about 20 minutes. Which does lead to the question, how can it be a push poll if it is so long? Pollster.com did a writeup about this article here:

http://www.pollster.com/blogs/proclinton_push_poll.php

If "someone" was paying "to spread this material phone call by phone call among independent voters," would they really spend 20 minutes on the telephone with each one?

...snip...

The call that Coghlan describes sounds more like a message testing survey that included many negative messages about Clinton's opponents. In other words, someone called a random sample of voters with the intent to "elicit answers," or more specifically reactions, to negative messages that the Clinton campaign or an allied group considered airing in California.

We could debate the ethics of this kind of negative campaigning, especially this late in the primary season, and the effect on the eventual nominee in November. But at least for now, it seems this call would be for the purposes of message and maybe negative campaigning, but would not be an effective push poll. Does anyone else have any good information about similar polls?

I have a friend in NH who received a call like this late last year, and it was evidently the tipping point that made him not want to vote for Clinton in that primary. Being in that first group of primary states means you're used to getting dozens of calls a week, but this one seemed to be over the line. Maybe I can persuade him to visit and comment on how long that call lasted, and if it matched up with this call.

Colbert's Push Polling

I thought this conversation needed a bit more laughter too ;-)

Thanks Ryan

Great resources.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Some serious questions remain.

Now that my reputation is somewhere between "gossip" and "tireless child advocate" ;-), I do have some serious questions.

-How do you think people should reply to this type of kitchen sink / message testing survey? What about an actual push poll?
-If Clinton supporters don't want this attributed to her, why don't they condemn it straight out? Do they support her negative tactics? Do they believe that she can lead us to a more positive form of political discourse?
-Is there any evidence that McCain's campaign or other conservative groups are using tactics like this to push for Clinton to be the Democratic nominee?

It's probably time for this thread to die, so I don't expect a lot of answers. But I do like real discussion much better than debates about people's identities and intentions.

Yes, but...

I'm not sure how to pronounce yours!

Grayg?
Greg?
Grah-eeg?

:)

--
relocating from Indianapolis, IN to RTP, NC soon; got any advice for me?

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

--
Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

A life-long gift from my parents.

Just don't say "Craig" or "Gregory." My name's neither of those. And if you say "Gregory" it reminds me of the old lady who lived across the street from me when I was a kid. She would yell "Gregory! Get out of the street!" and I always hated it.

I like it.

using my real name makes me think twice before I fire off a comment that I would never say to a person's face.

And Graig, you're the last person I'd ever accuse of being a 'gossip'. Funny. I only know you through BlueNC, and I'd never suspect you of being a gossip.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Candidate X eats babies

Would you be more or less likely to vote for candidate X if you knew that he tends to eat babies?

Would you be more or less likely to vote for candidate x if you knew he was an avid shoplifter?

Would you be more or less lilely to vote for candidate x if you knew he in fact is on record as opposing motherhood, prosperity, sunshine, and government efficiency?

Thank you for your time in this very important scientific poll.

Colbert Push Poll

Sorry if it has been posted before.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I don't know how I missed that one.

If there's anything we do religiously in this house, it's watch the Report.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Shoving a political poll in all the wrong places?

Candidate X eats babies*praha

1. Would you be more or less likely to vote for candidate X if you knew that he tends to eat babies?

Not really! I am a citizen of ancient Cathage, not Cathage North Carolina! We pride ourselves in eating our first born and tossing them into the fire of our God Molock. We will do anything to piss off those monoplyist ancient Roman pricks. How did you get my cell phone number? I have been dead for 2225 years and planted in a salt pile left over from the last and final Punic trade wars.

2.Would you be more or less likely to vote for candidate x if you knew he was an avid shoplifter?

Not really! What diffence does it make if the present political shoplifters know the judge?

3.Would you be more or less lilely to vote for candidate x if you knew he in fact is on record as opposing motherhood, prosperity, sunshine, and government efficiency?

No doubt! You are a Republican polling company! How would you feel if somebody shove a golden brick of prosperity up your ass as a method of government efficiency in action?

4.Thank you for your time in this very important scientific poll

Screw you and your wasted time of your screw up Republican candiate.

Yrs...Hannible the true ancient bastard of history! Death to Roma and Republicanism