How scared are Dave Reichert’s folks about facing Democratic challenger Darcy Burner? Scared enough that they conducted extensive polling in June, yet didn’t leak a single drop of data to the media. Scared enough that even the NRCC publicly admits he’s vulnerable. And apparently, scared enough that they’re already running Karl Rove-style push-polls… a full three months before the election.
I’ve heard from three constituents who are just absolutely pissed off about being subjected to a telephone ad campaign masquerading as a political survey… a push-poll clearly designed to pump up Reichert while spreading misinformation about Burner. Push-polling is dirty politics at its worst, but the only thing surprising about Reichert’s efforts is that it comes so early — normally we don’t see these sort of dirty tricks until the final weeks of the campaign.
The caller starts by asking to speak to the “male, voting, head of household,” though the three respondents I’ve heard from are all women. It starts innocently enough with “right direction/wrong direction” questions and stuff like that, but after the respondents say they intend to support Burner, the “ifs” start coming out.
“If you knew that Darcy Burner had voted in only 11 of 22 elections, would you be more or less likely to vote for her?”
“If you knew that Darcy Burner held stock options, including stocks in oil companies and Enron, would you be more or less likely to vote for her?”
“If you knew that Darcy Burner supported using aborted fetuses for medical research, would you be more or less likely to vote for her?”
“If you knew that Darcy Burner wanted to penalize the middle class by raising taxes, would you be more or less likely to vote for her?”
I probably have the specific phrasing off, as the respondents weren’t taking notes, but all three came away with the clear impression that this was an intentional “smear job” designed to mislead voters about Burners stance on the issues. In fact, one so-called “pollster” was openly apologetic about the biased nature of the questions, whispering into the phone: “I’m just trying to earn a living.”
The firm conducting the push-poll is obviously from out of state — one caller couldn’t pronounce “Issaquah” or even “Reichert”, while another admitted she was calling Texas the day before and another southern state the day before that. No doubt other Democratic challengers are being equally smeared in other districts nationwide by a Republican Party increasingly fearful of the coming purge, and willing to stoop to any level to cling to power.
Unfortunately, one of the things that makes push-polls so popular is that journalists tend to be reluctant to write about them, because there’s rarely a recording to verify the details.
So here’s want I want all of you to do: be prepared. If you think you’re in the process of being push-polled, take detailed notes, or better yet, record the conversation. And if you’ve already been push-polled, drop me an email and let me know so we can corroborate the details as much as possible.
We all expect the Republicans to stoop to dirty tricks in defense of Reichert. But let’s not allow them to get away with it without consequences.