City Hall News posted a lengthy profile of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, (NY-14), who is committed to challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a primary next year, yesterday.
Her use of the "n" word in a Gillibrand-trashing anecdote garnered some attention, but more interesting was a discussion of the May push poll done for Maloney by Doug Schoen, Mark Penn's longtime partner in mischief.
This poll stunk when it was first released, now we learn it was not released in its entirety, a possible violation of state law.
What Maloney and Trippi needed to keep secret, below.
The poll showed Maloney leading Gillibrand 34-32, with another third undecided.
But when the push polling started, Schoen went easy on his client and wicked nasty on Gillibrand, and got the desired, publicized result -- after hearing the arguments against both of them, Maloney's little lead ballooned to 49-25.
Ben Smith at Politico posted this about the poll on June 9 (four days after Trippi was officially hired):
Such message-testing polls don't always match up with the realities of a campaign in which candidates don't get to choose the arguments against them.
The arguments against Maloney ... had less bite than the attacks on Gillibrand.
UPDATE: The respondents also heard a much longer battery of positive statements about Maloney, it's pointed out to me, so add a(nother) grain of salt to this section.
According to the City Hall News profile, Maloney was "really excited" about Schoen's salty poll, especially after she helped make it more of a push poll:
Maloney had Schoen pull the kind of probing questions that most candidates use to assemble baseline opposition research into themselves before moving forward. Instead, the poll presented her negatives by conflating Maloney’s votes on school choice, empowering law enforcement to fight terrorism and raising taxes into one question.
And then there's the question and response Maloney and Trippi wanted to keep secret, for obvious reasons:
The biggest problem discovered by the poll, according to one person who saw the results before they were made public, might be the responses to a question not included in the version provided to the press.
Asked whom they would vote for if they knew Gillibrand had the support of Schumer and Obama, people chose Gillibrand over Maloney 50-24 — no small factor given that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has so far stuck by the commitment to back Gillibrand, and Schumer will himself be up for election to a third term next year, allowing him to actively campaign with the junior senator at his side in neighborhoods where he runs strong but where she needs the boost.
So, Maloney crows over the 49-25 push poll result (not just now, she was doing it in early June, too), and refuses to release a question and response that got a 50-24 result in Gillibrand's favor.
This may be a violation of state law, which, as I understand it, requires that if you publicize a poll, you must release the entire poll, not just the good parts.
Whether or not it's illegal, it is certainly another deception by the Maloney/Trippi campaign.
Anyone following this race knows that Schumer and Obama support Gillibrand, but lots of Democrats are not following this race at all, and do not know that.
New York Democrats will become much better informed about Gillibrand's high-profile supporters, and about Maloney/Trippi deceptions, over the next 13-and-a-half months.