Auros (auros) wrote,

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First scandal of campaign '06?

The Mystery Pollster, who is by far the best and most lucid writer I know on the subject of polling, has a fascinating analysis up of a strange poll that's running in competitive congressional districts (here are parts one, two, three, four). Basically the poll asks just two "questions". The first says that Al Gore has criticized the Bush wiretapping program, then says that the local congressman has supported it (even if that's a lie), and asks whether the respondent supports the program. The second question asks whether the respondent will vote for the congressman.

MP's analysis is that this is probably coming from a Rovian activist group, in the mold of the Swift Vets for Sleaze. The poll appears to serve two purposes. First, it inflames the Democratic base, and pushes Democratic congressmen and challengers to incumbents (who would like to steer a moderate course) to criticize the program more harshly. Second, it canvasses the Republican base, as well as people who may not feel thrilled about Bush, but who buy into the line that Gore is a flake, a liar, and (most recently) a traitor (because he's been giving talks in foreign countries that criticize US policies); if the incumbent is a Republican who really does support the program, their base will be more warmly disposed towards them, and if the incumbent is a Democrat who does eventually criticize Bush, they'll be seen as flip-flopping.

Important point to note: The poll is a) illegal, because it fails to provide a number to call to have yourself removed from their database, and fails to provide clear identification of the source; and b) seems to be impersonating a real, and well-respected polling outfit. SurveyUSA is offering a thousand-dollar reward for a recording of one of the calls, and if a recording can be captured, it could be submitted to the FCC for investigation.

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