UPDATE: I've been informed in a comment below that this may not fit the technical definition of "push polling", but I sure found it offensive.

OK, I've been push-polled before, but never as blatantly or obviously as today.

A woman claiming to be named Laura Parker from an outfit calling themselves "Western Research" called me a half-hour ago doing a political survey (after the call, I checked the Caller ID--the number was blocked).

It started out innocently enough--general questions about my likelihood of voting and positive/negative opinions of Jennifer Granholm, Joe Knollenberg, John Pappageorge, Andy Levin, Sander Levin, the State Legislature (in general), and the AFL-CIO.

Now, of these, Granholm, Knollenberg, Pappageorge and Andy Levin all make sense. The first red flag was Sander Levin--since I'm in Knollenberg's district, not Sandy's. Also, asking my opinion of the AFL-CIO and the State Legislature in general was unusual (for a normal poll). I was then asked whether I plan on voting Dem/GOP for the various candidates. Fair enough.

That was when it started: "Would you be more or less likely to vote for John Pappageorge IF YOU KNEW THAT HE...", followed by a 4 supposedly wonderful things about Pappageorge:

--something about him "fighting" the Detroit Water Board
--something about him supporting English as the official state language
--something about him "fighting" to prevent garbage dumping
--and, ironically (given the vote a few days back), something about him "fighting" to kill the "unfair, business-killing" Single Business Tax and replacing it with "fairer business taxes" of some nonspecific nature (and yes, she used those words)

But that was nothing compared with the "more or less likely to vote for him EVEN THOUGH HE..." statements about the supposedly horrible Andy Levin. According to this woman, Andy Levin:

--wants illegal immigrants to be given full benefits (medical, I think; I didn't have time to scribble down every detail)
--lived in Maryland since 1998, only moved back in order to run for state Senate, with the ultimate goal of taking over his father's Congressional seat
--has only voted once in Oakland county in the last ten years, for himself in the primary (well, duh...if he just moved back to town, this would kind of make sense...he couldn't very well vote locally if he didn't live here fer Chrissakes...)
--was a D.C. lobbyist (for the AFL-CIO, I think), making $110,000/year (she used that specific dollar amount)
--is/was against ending the "unfair, business-killing" SBT
--lobbied for legalizing gay marriage
--worked for Ted Kennedy's "Union card check bill" which "unfairly" allows...something or another when it comes to campaign contributions (I think?)
--a few other things I can't quite remember

Now, I have no idea which of the above are true or false, but about half of them sound like good things to me, and the other half seem pretty stupid--they pushed the carpetbagging angle pretty hard, but I hardly consider it carpetbagging to return to your home state that you grew up in. That's very different from moving to a totally unfamiliar state to run for office.

Anyway, the next batch of questions was interesting as well--she moved back to Pappageorge and pretended to be "fair" by bringing up his age (75), but then saying that he's only planning on sticking around for one term. She brought up his infamous "suppress the Detroit vote" statement in 2004, but then noted that the Oakland Press (big shocker) defended him on this. Sounds like they're trying to pre-emt both of these issues by heading them off at the pass.

Finally, she asked assorted demographic questions (age, party preference, employment, religion, and
  abortion stance and two that raised my eyebrows a bit: "do you or anyone in your house own a firearm?" and "do you plan on voting absentee or at the polls?", both of which I refused to answer.

Anyway, I have no idea what state law is regarding push-polling, but this one was pretty damned blatant. I'll turn this over to any lawyers reading it--is this a big deal or a minor one?

Oh, I already let someone at Andy's campaign know about it, though I didn't have it all written out yet.

Originally posted to Brainwrap on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 03:46 PM PDT.

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