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When in doubt, just make it up

August 31, 2009 - Jim Anderson
Push polling is an art form. Similar, in some ways, to financial scams.

The most artful financial scams play upon the greed of the victim. The most successful push polls take advantage of the victim’s willingness to accept a falsehood.

One of the most infamous push polls occurred during the 2000 presidential primary elections.

Supporters of George W. Bush devised a plan against rival John McCain. Voters in a crucial Republican primary in South Carolina were asked. “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?” The question was a fabrication. The goal was to spread misinformation about McCain, who was campaigning with his adopted Bangladeshi daughter. McCain lost in South Carolina and Bush went on to win the presidency.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is entering a league of his own in push polling with his “2009 Future of American Health Survey.”

The fourth question on the Republican survey, sent out earlier this month, is this:

“It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to determine a person’s political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system. Does this possibility concern you?”

I have a question for Michael Steele.

If the chairman of a political group deliberately asks a baseless question designed to instill fear and elicit a contribution, how many steps does that put him above people of like mind who send out e-mail lottery scams?

Just wondering.

Do Democrats sometimes use push polls? Sure. It’s become part of our sorry political game.

If you have examples of outrageous Democratic push polls on health care — or anything at all — please share them. It would be interesting to see if it’s possible to reach any lower than Chairman Steele.


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