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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

DENNIS PATRICK: PUSH POLLING PERFIDY

Why are results of political polling such big news? Does anyone really believe that the polls this far out reflect the outcome of the elections? More to the point, will polling sway the electorate substantially this early in the campaign? It is likely that a constant drumbeat over time of lousy polling could influence a candidate’s defeat. Or, it could simply result in a lack of public confidence in polls. In the end, the only important poll is the one held on Election Day.

People may not recognize the term “push polling” but they do realize that polls can be used to generate news. Interest groups and campaigns are not above structuring polls so that biased results will be carried by a sycophant media to fit their own biased narrative. This is a form of surrogate negative campaigning on behalf of a candidate of the media’s choice.

As practiced by these interest groups, campaigns, and biased media such polling becomes a head game toying with the minds of the public. More insidious, it is a way to generate news as a means to their own end.

One of the sneakiest tricks of political survey methodology is that of push polling. A telephone survey is the typical medium of execution. The survey begins with a few standard qualifying questions about race, gender, age, income, education – all pretty innocent stuff.

Usually an interviewee is caught off guard when the phone call comes. They are not paying attention and they don’t grasp the ignificance of the call. Unless they are alert they will not discern if it is a media outlet, one of the two major political parties, or a polling firm hired by a campaign. Even if asked, the caller is trained to not identify themselves or for whom they are working. The caller may terminate the call if challenged.

Push polling outcomes are designed to influence public opinion by leading the public to believe the survey results are legitimate. Respondents answer misleading questions fraught with innuendo, propaganda, and rumors. There is no attempt to legitimately analyze the answers. Once conducted, the campaign or media use push poll results to generate the news story favoring one candidate and disparaging the other.

For example, the phrase “tax the rich” plays well with many people. Stop and think. The rich have already accumulated their wealth. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet could care less if the federal government raises taxes on the rich. Such a tax does not tax wealth. It taxes income. The rich could give up a large portion of their income in any given year and they would still be wealthy. Besides, a good portion of their wealth is sheltered in tax-free investments. An increase in income tax would not make a dent in their accumulated wealth.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and many liberal congressmen and senators supported taxing the rich. In an emotional response to a tainted survey, gullible people support “making the rich pay their fair share.” The news then breaks that [name a liberal] proposes to give people “free stuff” paid for by the wealthy who have not been paying their fair share. In reality, media polling panders to voters who end up paying for their own “free stuff” through their own taxes.

Here is a classic. Trump speaks to supporters of the Second Amendment. He encourages them to take care of Clinton in November. Any reasonable person understands Trump meant at the ballot box. In no way did he imply assassination. Yet some in the media reported that Trump voiced assassination because about whom he was speaking. Previous push polling on gun control conditioned many to assume the media narrative. Skew the polling, tabulate the results, and then report the biased story. Presto! This sets up the negative subliminal message that Trump wants Clinton assassinated.

Trump could sneeze, the media would report how he attacked the environment, and a whole new series of polls and skewed news reporting would follow.

In 2016 Hillary Clinton could not run on a record of accomplishments. Therefore, with the media’s help, she ran a negative campaign using dirty tricks, attack ads and, yes, push polling. Her campaign would do anything to discourage opposition voters from turning out in November.

As an addendum, take note of the wide disparity between various polls. Also, take note of the wide difference in percentage points between two candidates in a given state. A ten to fifteen point spread is suspicious. Not all polls seek the truth. This is particularly true of push polling.

Let there be no doubt that the mainstream media campaigns for their liberal presidential candidate. Gone are the days of so-called objective reporting. The media mission today is to suppress voter turnout opposed to the media’s candidate.

My mama used to tell me, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” With regard to polling data, that is sage advice.

Let the voter beware.

 

Dennis M. Patrick can be contacted at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Click here to email your elected representatives.

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