Push-Polling (Continued): The Appearance of Ethics, And the Same Old Same Old

July 11, 2008 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Push-polling was a major factor in McCain’s loss in the GOP South Carolina primary. Now John McCain actually credits the Bush campaign team for it’s organization.

Eight years on, with an 89% in-step voting record with President Bush, somehow the term ‘Maverick’ precedes Senator McCain’s name. Regular Fox News viewers will recall Sean Hannity declaring that he will act as a “surrogate” for the McCain campaign.

Few, if any, news junkies will readily remember any mainstream media outlet questioning just how much of a ‘Maverick’ John McCain is, if at all.

But they might remember Obama’s rhetoric about keeping campaign spending capped – and to keep the election fight a clean one.

Well it’s clear Obama has reneged on his campaign spending agenda. Considering that he would almost be tying his hands behind his back in not using all that money he has raised, I think at this point it’s almost a non issue.

A Question For Voters Tired Of Tacticians

How will McCain respond after to the fact to the Obama Campaign’s own recent Push Polling tactic – and how does the Obama campaign respond to the use of their tactics?

Some Background

Either the Obama campaign, or “surrogates”, under the guise of a company called ‘Z&M Research’, have outsourced their work to the Canadian office of an American – owned company – TRG – which coincidentally is laying off almost 400 employees by the end of July.

The Canadian TRG office, located in St. Catharines, Ontario, has been able to capitalize on cheap and expendable labour with their call centres, especially with St.Catharines being a GM town, continually hit hard over the last 29 years by the economic downturn in the auto industry.

Z&M Research appears not to exist – at least based on some initial searching. Perhaps it’s a proxy company that is billed on behalf of the Obama For President Campaign.

But this is only hypothesising. What is fact is that TRG has callers phoning with the following script for the Obama campaign.
TRG (The Resource Group) as a rule doesn’t respond to information about clients.

And what also remains a fact is that as of June 24th, weeks after Clinton has conceded and Obama has been declared the presumptive nominee, the call center is using the same script.

How convenient that this company will be packiing up, 30 days hence, especially if the Obama camp tries to maintain a ‘high-road’ facade. They will be untraceable.

The Obama Script

The questionnaire itself – like most political imaging and negative or positive attribution scripts – starts off fairly innocuously. In this one, callers are asked about election 2004, their likelihood in voting in the 2008 election (Q.3), and even “Generally speaking, do you think that things in this country are going in the right direction, or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off track? (Q4)

Q5, and Q6 again still lull the participant asking the respondent whether they would support Obama over McCain, Hillary over McCain, or McCain over Obama or Clinton. It’s a deception that it is just a generic opinion poll.

But this is where it gets fun. Clearly in the interest of collecting Obama data, the questionnaire engages in conjecture, ageism, fear tactics, and maybe a little fact.

Let’s read questions 7 – 12!

Q.7 – “McCain is even more committed than Bush to War in Iraq and Iran. Bush wants us in Iraq for 50 years, but McCain supports permanent U.S. bases and committing our troops there for 100 years. He says there will be more wars in the region and that we may have to bomb Iran. One Republican says McCain would be a bigger war hawk than Dick Cheney.

Q8 – McCain is very critical of lobbyists, but he has several of them managing his campaign, and a total of 59 of them raising money for him. Recently, some of the lobbyists managing his campaign helped broker a deal that will allow the French company Airbus, to build the next aerial tanker for the U.S. Air Force, rather than giving the contract to a U.S. company. We need to create new jobs here, not in France.

Q9 – The housing market is in crisis, wages are stagnating, prices are rising for gas, health care, and food and our economy is losing jobs. But McCain says he’s focused on foreign affairs, not the economy. McCain admitted that, quote, he “doesn’t really understand economics” and, “still needs to be educated” on the economy.

Q10 – John McCain appears healthy, but if elected, he would assume the presidency at age 72 and be the oldest man ever to do so. Only a few years ago, he survived a serious case of melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. Given the stress all presidents experience, especially in times of war and economic crisis, we need a younger, more vigorous president to get the country out of the mess it’s in.

Q11 – John McCain is known for his explosive temper. Even one of his Republican colleagues, Senator Thad Cochran, recently said, “He gets very volatile. He gets red in the face. He talks loud’I certainly know no President who’s has a temper like that’You;d like to think that your president would be cool, calm, and collected. He’s commander in chief.” Another Republican Senator, Pete Dominici said, “I decided I didn’t want this guy anywhere near a trigger.”

Q12 – John McCain says he’s a true conservative with conservative values. But he has a known history of adultery, in both of his marriages. One month ago, allegations were made that McCain had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female lobbyist who was frequently seen travelling with him and whose clients won political favors from him.”

The Method

Of the preceding questions, the caller asks the recipient “Let me read you a series of statements about Republican John McCain. For each statement, please tell me whether this description, if accurate (italics added), raisies serious doubts, minor doubts, or no real doubts in your mind about Republican John McCain.”

The script ends as it started, asking about the same Clinton/Obama/McCain matchups.

Again, it’s a clever diversion considering Clinton’s concession.

Clearly the goal is to see how quickly the respondent was manipulated, and to collect data on which of the main questions had the most impact. In other words, which of the “series of statements” affected callers and which themes would be most successful in, again, manipulating the general voting public.

A recent Washington Post poll shows that there is defintely some success in spinning the age issue:

“Numerous polls, for example, have indicated that McCain’s age may be a bigger detractor than Obama’s race. And more are now concerned that McCain will heed too closely the interests of large corporations than said so about Obama and the interests of blacks”

The questions themselves allocate “negative attribution” about the subject. It’s a simple but effective marketing 101 strategy and again, it will be interesting to learn about the questions McCain might employ in imposing the same negative attribution to Barack Obama. Will it be race? The same Washington Post phone poll revealed the following:

At the same time, there is an overwhelming public openness to the idea of electing an African American to the presidency. In a Post-ABC News poll last month, nearly nine in 10 whites said they would be comfortable with a black president. While fewer whites, about two-thirds, said they would be “entirely comfortable” with it, that was more than double the percentage of all adults who said they would be so at ease with someone entering office for the first time at age 72, which McCain (R-Ariz.) would do should he prevail in November.


Even so, just over half of whites in the new poll called Obama a “risky” choice for the White House, while two-thirds said McCain is a “safe” pick. Forty-three percent of whites said Obama has sufficient experience to serve effectively as president, and about two in 10 worry he would overrepresent the interests of African Americans.

At the end of the day, it would be sad, but not surprising to see the same divisive actions cut to the core of what actually makes up a population. Good thing there was definitely no sexism involved in the election.

Sven Eric Balabanoff Writes for http://globalpundit.org/

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This post was written by Sven Eric Balabanoff

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