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Elizabeth Colbert Busch at a campaign rally in the final weeks of the special election campaign in South Carolina's first congressional district.
The special election in South Carolina's First Congressional District has gotten dirty with just a week to go. Voters in the district are getting calls from an outfit identifying itself only as SSI Polling asking a series of negative questions focusing only on Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch. ThinkProgress has spoken with voters who got such calls; seemingly the questions vary somewhat from call to call but have included:
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?”
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you a judge held her in contempt of court at her divorce proceedings?
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?”
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?”
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she supported the failed stimulus plan?”
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you unions contributed to her campaign?”
Accusations of push polling are often leveled against legitimate message-testing polls that are trying to probe both candidates' strengths and weaknesses to help develop campaign strategy. The term push polling properly refers to last-minute polls that are done only to convey a negative message about a candidate. These sure seem to fit the bill in every way. The calls reflect desperation on the part of Mark Sanford's backers, but that desperation doesn't mean they shouldn't be taken seriously, as John McCain could tell you.

Hey, maybe that'll be one of the questions SSI Polling starts using: "What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had aborted John McCain's illegitimate black baby?" Just to really wrap a neat bow around South Carolina's tradition of dirty campaigning.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:24 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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