Weird and Wacky polls in the field?

Carla Axtman

I'm hearing tonight that there's some interesting polling going on right now that if it doesn't meet the standard definition of push polling, seems awfully darn close.

So far I know of only northwestern Oregon recipients of this polling. If others outside the Portland metro area and north Willamette Valley are getting this too, I'd love to hear about it in comments.

Fortunately, a quick and smart recipient of the poll managed to write down the questions:

  1. Do you approve of President Obama's job performance? (rate on scale of 1-4, 1 strongly approve, 4 strongly disapprove)

  2. OR legislators voted to release violent criminals last year to pay for spending in other programs. If you legislator voted in favor of this, how much more likely would you be to vote for them again? (rate support 1-4 scale, 1-would not support, 4-would support)

  3. Do you support casinos in Portland? (rate support on 1-4 scale)

  4. OR spends $10K per student. How do you feel about the level of education spending? (rate on 1-4 scale)

  5. OR legislators approved $8B of spending, a 13% increase in the budget. If your legislator voted in favor of this, how much more likely are you to vote for them again? (rate on 1-4 scale)

  6. OR legislators voted for a $1B tax increase in a single week! If your legislator voted in favor of this, how much more likely are you to vote for them again? (rate on 1-4 scale)

  7. In the OR legislative election, which party do you vote for- Republican or Democrat? If D, press 1. If R, press 2. If other, press 3.

  8. What is your age

  9. What is your sex

  10. What party are you registered with, Republican or Democrat? If D, press 1. If R press 2. If other, press 3. If non affiliated, press 4.

The recipient of the poll also said that it seemed as if the pollster was trying to trick people to choose the wrong party on questions 7 and 10. You had to listen closely to make sure to pick correctly.

I wonder how long it will take for a poll to emerge saying that Democrats are coming out in support of Kevin Mannix's new, budget busting ballot measure? More mandatory minimums from the gang that brought you "tough on crime" that isn't actually doing anything to end crime.

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    Sounds like a pretty bad poll, but not a push poll.

    After all, it doesn't accuse any candidate by name. Which would be the whole point of a push poll.

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    This poll is very similar to Chamber polls I receive from time to time.

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    I agree with Kari on both counts. These not only aren't "push" questions (leaving aside the fact that so-called "push polling" is really a form of direct voter contact, not statitistical polling) but this poll is asking about the Oregon legislature generally, not even attributing its actions to Democrats.

    The disconnection between the issues also argues against it being funded by any single ballot measure campaign. My guess is that it's either a shared cost poll or someone wanting to sell information after the fact or use the polling results to promote their polling services to potential customers.

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    Or, someone screwing around and playing with a service like Precision Polling.

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    I got polled last night.

    Q-7 was actually, which party do you identify with more, Democrat or Republican.

    Q-10 was, are you a member of 1- democrat, 2- republican, 3- minor party or 4 - unaffiliated.

    I felt the poll was to determine the leanings of the person answering and how 3 particular themes played to moderates. "Soft on crime", new taxes, education funding.

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    Got this the other day. The call was from Kubler Consulting in Corvallis.

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    Kari, the definition of "push poll" has drifted over time, at least in popular usage, but I don't think accusing a candidate by name is necessarily part of the definition. Sources such as Quinnipiac University Polling Institute focus on the criteria that a push poll uses a polling format while actually being a persuasive device, "pushing" one side of a question or issue. It's not whether the information provided as part of the questioning is positive, negative or neutral or whether it's true, false or truthy, but whether it's used to measure opinion or to influence it, although leading with false or biased statements is kind of a tip off.

    They can be used to gauge the effect of "pushing" one message or another: "If I told you that ____, would that change your vote?" or to define the sides (in a way that benefits the side that commissioned the "poll"): "Would you vote for Candidate A, a Progressive, or Candidate B, a Career Politician?" The point is that it is not just a snapshot of public opinion, but a device to change it.

    I think any academic definition of push polling would include questions such as #s 2, 4, 5 and 6 cited here in that category.

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      Fair enough.

      One key thing, however, is the volume of calls that you're doing. If you talk to just 400 people (like a legit poll does), then that's not a push poll.

      The definition of push poll necessarily means using a fake poll to deliver message to thousands of voters.

      Of course, that's something that's impossible for a single call recipient to figure out.

      Of course, with three BlueOregon readers reporting that they got the call... maybe it is, in fact, a push poll.

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        True, and we all react to these things based on how it sounds to us, not on the volume of calls, which we can't know. I would, however, quibble on the point of whether a call that's designed to influence rather than measure becomes legitimately a poll just because the call volume is relatively low. 400 calls might not make for an effective whispering campaign, but that doesn't make it a poll if it's pushing one side of the issue.

        What would be interesting to know, but I don't know how one would study it, is how effective these things are, considering the ratio of negative to positive impressions made. Seems like a lot of people try to figure out who commissioned the call so they can be mad at them.

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