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Details of a push poll I received presumably by the McCain campaign against Obama.

Dear friends,

I just received a presumably McCain push poll on my cell phone.  The push poll was as follows:

   * Push Poll (PP): Are you intending to vote in the 2008 presidential election?
         o Me:  Yes
   * PP:  Do you intend to vote for John McCain?
         o Me:  No
   * PP:  Do you intend to vote for Barack Obama?
         o Me:  Yes
   * PP:  Do you want a strong President who will manage the economy?
         o Me:  Yes
   * PP:  Did you know about Barack Obama's affiliations to Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac and that most of his contributors are Washington lobbyists representing the corrupt firms that caused the financial crisis?
         o Me:  Yes
   * PP:  Does this make you less likely to vote for Barack Obama?
         o Me:  No
   * PP:  Did you know about Barack Obama's affiliation to terrorist Bill Ayers and to the fraudulent voter registration organizationAcorn?
         o Me:  Yes
   * PP:  Does this make you less likely to vote for Barack Obama?
         o Me:  No
   * PP:  Are the values of the candidates important for you in this election?
         o Me:  Yes
   * PP:  Did you know that Obama is a muslim?
         o Me:  Yes
   * PP:  Does this make you less likely to vote for Barack Obama?
         o Me:  No
   * PP:  We are going to ask you a series of questions about your demographics.  Is this ok?
         o Me:  Yes
   * PP:  What is your age?
         o Me:  34
   * PP:  (Inaudible)
         o Me:  (Silence)
   * PP:  Thank you ver much for taking time to answer the survey of the Political Action Committee for Change (not sure, if this was the name or not).  This is an independent survey and is not affiliated with the political campaigns of John McCain or Barack Obama. (End of call)

This brings up several concerns:

First of all, I am on the "no call list," so why would they call me?  Isn't this a violation of the law, or is there an exemption for political calls?

Second, they called my cell phone, and my understanding was that there is a law against marketing to cell phone numbers.

Third, the number was registered on my caller ID as the following:  703-263-2155

Is there anything we can do to take (legal) action against these folks?



Originally posted to YoSoyBoricua on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:32 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I doubt it's the McCain campaign (13+ / 0-)

    They wouldn't be so overt about the Muslim thing. It's probably a 527. Still, reccing this. I'm pretty sure it's against the law to call and blatantly lie about a candidate like this.

    •  The Push Polling is terrible. (8+ / 0-)

      But I don't know if it's illegal per se.  What I do know is that the Do Not Call list does not include non-profit and political campaigns.  If they ain't trying to sell you something, then they can call you.

      Or if you are a customer of a company, then they can call and try to sell you something.

      Rec'd.  Push Polling is Unacceptable.

      •  And To Be Clear, 95% of the Time... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichiganGirl, Exquisite, Dave1955

        ...when someone is claiming something is a push poll, it's not, it's an actual empirically sound poll testing messages, including comparative and negative messages.  

        This, however, is an actual push poll.

        This is from the American Association for Public Opinion Research:

        The problem of so-called "push polls"

        When advocacy calls are made under the guise of research

        June 2007
        This statement from AAPOR explains how to tell the difference between fraudulent political polls—commonly referred to as "push polls"—and legitimate polling, including message testing. AAPOR condemns political telemarketing under the guise of research and is committed to providing information that explains what this unethical campaign practice is and what you can do about it.

        A "Push Poll"  is not a Legitimate Poll

        A so-called "push poll" is an insidious form of negative campaigning, disguised as a political poll. "Push polls" are not surveys at all, but rather unethical political telemarketing -- telephone calls disguised as research that aim to persuade large numbers of voters and affect election outcomes, rather than measure opinions. This misuse of the survey method exploits the trust people have in research organizations and violates the AAPOR Code of Professional Ethics and Practices.

        Identifying Advocacy Calls Made Under the Guise of Research

        Political telemarketing calls, when disguised as research, may sometimes be difficult to differentiate from a legitimate survey. Here are characteristics that will usually indicate to a respondent that the call is not a legitimate survey.

           *One or only a few questions are asked, all about a single candidate or a single issue.
           *The questions are uniformly strongly negative (or sometimes uniformly positive) descriptions of the candidate or issue.
           *The organization conducting the calls is not named, or a phony name is used.
           *Evasive answers are given in response to requests for more information about the survey.

        In addition, the following characteristics will indicate to journalists, reporters, and survey professionals that a telephone call is not a legitimate survey.

           *The number of people called is very large, sometimes many thousands.
           *The calls are not based on a random sample.
           *It is difficult to find out which organization conducted the interviews.

        Fraudulent Polls  vs. Message Testing

        The fact that a poll contains negative information about one or more candidates does NOT in and of itself make it a 'push poll.’ Political campaigns routinely sponsor legitimate "message-testing" surveys that are used by campaign consultants to test out the effectiveness of various possible campaign messages or campaign ad content, often including negative messages. Political message-testing surveys may sometimes be confused with fake polling, but they are very different. One way to tell is that message-testing surveys exhibit the characteristics of a legitimate survey, such as:

           *At the beginning of the call, the interviewer clearly identifies the call center actually making the calls. (However, legitimate political polling firms will often choose not to identify the client who is sponsoring the research, be it a candidate or a political party, since that could bias the survey results.)
           *The interview contains more than a few questions.
           *The questions usually ask about more than one candidate or mention both sides of an issue.
           *Questions, usually near the end of the interview, ask respondents to report demographic characteristics such as age, education level, and party identification.
           *The survey is based on a random sample of voters.
           *The number of respondents falls within the range of legitimate surveys, typically between 400 and 1500 interviews.

        AAPOR stresses that these criteria apply most of the time, but exceptions will arise. Journalists and members of the public are encouraged to investigate allegations of "push polling" to ascertain whether or not the calling activity was carried out for legitimate research purposes.
        The Threats of Fraudulent Political Calls (Political Telemarketing Under the Guise of Research)

        Political advocacy calls made under the guise of a survey abuse the public’s trust. They gain the attention of respondents under false pretenses by taking advantage of the good will people have toward legitimate research.

        When disguised as research, these calls create negative images of legitimate surveys, especially when they distort issues or candidate characteristics in order to influence opinion.

        They go beyond the ethical boundaries of political polling by bombarding voters with distorted or even false statements in an effort to manufacture negative attitudes.

        The hostility created in this way affects legitimate surveys by reducing the public’s willingness to cooperate with future survey requests.

        AAPOR Position on So-Called "Push Polls"

           * AAPOR Councils have repeatedly warned members and the public about the harm done by unethical political telemarketing that is conducted under the guise of research.

           *In 2005, the AAPOR Code was amplified to identify fraudulent political polling as unethical conduct. The Code states: "We shall not misrepresent our research or conduct other activities (such as sales, fund raising, or political campaigning) under the guise of conducting research" [section II.D.4, emphasis added].
           *AAPOR has reacted to complaints about suspected "push polls" and conducted investigations.
           *AAPOR urges its members and the media to uncover instances of political telemarketing under the guise of research and help us alert the public promptly when these fraudulent political polls occur.

        (The American Association of Political Consultants and the National Council on Public Polls have also issued statements condemning "push polls," and member organizations of these associations are pledged not to conduct them.)

        Issues in Message Testing

        Despite their legitimacy of purpose, message-testing surveys occasionally generate vigorous complaint. They are sometimes the subject of public controversy in political campaigns, and may appear in press stories about dubious campaign practices. AAPOR recognizes that message tests may need to communicate positive or negative information in strongly political terms, in a tone similar to campaign advertisements. Still, these surveys should be judged by the same ethical standards as any other poll of the public: Do they include any false or misleading statements? Do they treat the respondent with fairness and respect?

        Issues with Automated Calling

        New technologies for contacting people by phone, including pre-recorded political messages, automated touch-tone polls, and interactive voice response technology, all offer new opportunities for political campaigns—and new possibilities for abuse as well. The issues are the same whether a live telephone caller or an automated system makes the call. Advocacy or canvassing calls should never be misrepresented to voters as research calls, whatever the mechanism of communication.

        How Can You Help Combat Fraudulent Political Polling -- So-Called "Push" Polls?
        AAPOR urges its members and the media to uncover unethical political telemarketing and help alert the public.

        If you suspect you have received a political telemarketing call disguised as a survey, try to get as much information as possible from the caller, particularly the name and location of the organization doing the "interviewing." Take notes on the specific questions that you were asked.

        Also ask what organization is conducting the calls, the number of people called, the questions that will be included, and how the information from the call will be used.

        If you are a reporter who receives information on a purported "push poll", seek to discern if the call in question was part of a legitimate message-testing survey or was indeed political telemarketing under the guise of research. Solicit the opinions of experts who can evaluate it accordingly.

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:45:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think it is the McCain campaign (0+ / 0-)

      I think it is the McCain campaign or Senator Snow of Maine would not be calling for McCain to stop it.  I agree, this is terrible even if it is protected political speech.  They should be sued and tied up in court for this type of practice.

    •  I would agree. (0+ / 0-)

      I'd think the OP, in addition to the three reasons listed, would be upset that the lies about Obama being a Muslim are actively being pushed still.

      Stranger in a strange land. (Independent voting for McCain)

      by StopDeludingYourself on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 09:47:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  LOL At your answers (22+ / 0-)

    Did you know he's a corrupt muslim friend of terrorists? Yes. Does this make you less likely to vote for him? No

    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happy Hour

    by PerryX on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:35:25 PM PDT

  •  Answers (13+ / 0-)

    First, No.... political campaigns do not have to abide to the no call list

    Second, No... just recently, cell phones have been added to permissible calls. There is a separate do not call list for those.

    Third, Maybe.  This sounds like a classic push poll, which is illegal... Call your local Obama campaign office and report it with details.

    It profits a PUMA nothing to give their soul for the whole world... but for McCain? --Sir Thomas More (if he were here now)

    by LordMike on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:36:11 PM PDT

  •  There is an exemption (5+ / 0-)

    under the no-call list for surveys, charities, and any other company you are doing any sort of business with (credit cards, etc).  

    •  Close (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave1955, ncarolinagirl

      The law only covers "commercial" calls, i.e. calls where someone is trying to sell something.  Political calls and non-profits aren't exempted, but rather were excluded from regulation.

      There is, however, and exemption for companies with whom the recipient has a previous bsiness relationship.

      You may say that it is a distinction without a difference, but I disagree -- if political calls were exempted, then that would mean that Congress has some authority to regulate political speech, and the First Amendment trumps that argument.  If excluded, then it acknowledges the authority of free speech as guaranteed by the Constitution.  Congress can regulate commercial speech a little bit (heightened scrutiny test).

  •  703-263-2155 (5+ / 0-)

    I just entered the phone number in google, and here is one result.


    You say you got billions to spend? Start the Universal Healthcare Pot. Everyone wins; individuals and corporations alike.

    by gooderservice on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:38:42 PM PDT

  •  And I don't know of any law against calling cell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ballerina X, Dave1955

    phone numbers, I got sales calls on my cell phone until I put my cell number on the no-call registry too.

  •  lol (17+ / 0-)

    I want a push poll call that sounds fun.  I've always wanted to be that ideal call for them.

    "He's Muslim?  Oh my god!  Is this true?  This is very disturbing sir, I'm amazed this is not reported more.  A muslim in the white house, that's worse than a black guy.  Yes this does change my vote, thus far I've thought McCain was proving to be a lying prick, but at least he's not muslim.  I mean holy geeze.  I have to sit down.  Wow, the terrorist have really won haven't they?"

    the more you know, the more you know you don't know

    by penkilk on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:38:54 PM PDT

    •  ROFL! (8+ / 0-)

      I would love to be push polled so that I can screw with them. ;)

      My border collie is smarter than our president

      by princess Kes on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:43:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been pushed polled before, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Katie71, Dave1955

        but it was for the Dick DeVos 2006 gubernatorial campaign, and it IS fun to mess with them... but they scare me too, because quite often I've found that old people (especially old ladies) can get the living shit scared out of them quite easily... but then again, the nastiness seems to turn people off a lot, so who knows?  

        I went canvassing today from 9am to around 2:30 and the repub candidate for our state house race had sent an extremely nasty mailer yesterday to every registered voter in the entire district that intimated our Democratic candidate was a homosexual that would push a extremist homosexual agenda if elected; and people were actually pissed at that mailer.

        So I think in the end the nastiness will end up costing the fear mongering republicans votes, because people really don't like it, and the people that are prone to that kind of tactic probably weren't voting for us anyway... but I still always worry about it.

        "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

        by MichiganGirl on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 02:12:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've just sent this (7+ / 0-)

    to they have to be made aware of this imo.  thank you so much for letting us know.

    Because our individual salvation depends on our collective salvation.. Barack Obama, 5-25-08

    by sherijr on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:42:36 PM PDT

  •  I just got push-polled (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ballerina X, flahawkfan, sherijr, Dave1955

    It was a bunch of lies about the economy.

  •  I got called by the same phone number (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ballerina X, Dave1955

    It happened on 2:57 today.  I didn't answer as I was at a soccer game.

  •  the first question aught to be... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ballerina X, Dave1955

    do you consider yourself dumb enough to be influenced by an idiotic pack of lies?

  •  This is interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drainflake77, Dave1955

    googling Elaine Perry She does voice overs

    Secret Agent fairy Princess twirling about performing acts of graceful espionage

    by ballerina X on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 01:52:18 PM PDT

  •  A reverse phone directory check... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ballerina X, Dave1955

    shows 703-263-2155 as an unpublished land line in Herndon, VA.  There are several marketing/political research companies there, any of whom could be the culprit.

    My guess is they are message testing for one of the 527's or GOP organizations to see which sleazy ad they have in cue is most likely to get the most bang for their buck.

    I'm a little surprised they found your cell phone number on some list.

  •  The RNC is just wasting it's money. (7+ / 0-)

    I already called the RNC number on the end of the Ayers robocall--by the way, hit 0 and you get more choices, I found a mailbox for the "co-chair" that was still open and I left a really P.O. message--and I think when I get a minute I'll call them again and ask if they're out of money yet.

    I mean, are the McCain campaign staff and the RNC a bunch of Obama "mole" operatives? They really can't seem to do anything without basically ticking off whoever they contact.  

  •  Exact same call in Georgia (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about 4:30 on Saturday

  •  The GOP has started running ads for McCain in (3+ / 0-)

    suburban chicago.  Go figure.

  •  Check out callers' numbers here (0+ / 0-)

    Polls are exempt from do not call, as is political campaigning.  They wrote the law, they exempted themselves ;} ...

    Probably most effective to make your action local, since the purchaser of the phone list is very likely calling people in your immediate geographic area -- so, like a letter rebutting the push poll to your local paper, or better yet, try to get an interview about it.  Or postings on community bulletin boards and blogs.

  •  Americans In Contact? (0+ / 0-)

    According to this source,

    they believe that the number belongs to this organization:

    A Whois lookup has this information on

    Registrant Email:
    Admin ID:GODA-253607728
    Admin Name:Jason Flanary
    Admin Organization:ccAdvertising
    Admin Street1:13800 Coppermine Road
    Admin City:Herndon
    Admin State/Province:Virginia
    Admin Postal Code:20171
    Admin Country:US
    Admin Phone:+1.7032341200

  •  Can this be legal? (0+ / 0-)
    * PP:  Did you know that Obama is a muslim?
            o Me:  Yes

    If this is in fact going on we should all rise up.  This is not just unethical, it should be criminally illegal and an actionable tort.  What has gone wrong with our system?  If this is allowed and we can't overcome it with the truth then our democracy is doomed.


  •  I received the same call in Maryland on Oct 21 (0+ / 0-)

    I know Maryland is safely in Senator Obama's column but it still pissed me off.  It was PUBSRV 2008 at 703-263-2155.

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