Michigan Messenger: Michigan Jewish voters targeted in ‘push poll’

Michigan Messenger (9/19/08)

Michigan Jewish voters targeted in ‘push poll

Jewish voters in Michigan and several other states have recently been the target of “push polls” designed to pass along false or misleading information about Barack Obama.

A push poll is defined by Wikipedia as “a form of telemarketing-based propaganda and rumor mongering, masquerading as a poll.” Potential voters are called and asked if they would answer questions about their political views. The first few questions are generally legitimate but then they begin to receive questions that take this form:

“Would you be more or less likely to vote for Candidate X if you knew (fill in the blank)?”

Ironically, John McCain was the victim of perhaps the most infamous example of push polling in our history. During the 2000 election, immediately before the South Carolina Republican primary, groups close to the Bush campaign began calling voters in that state and asking them if it would make them less likely to vote for McCain if they knew he had fathered a biracial child. McCain has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh who sometimes appeared with him during the campaign, which would lead credence to this notion.

This was widely viewed as an attempt by the Bush campaign to use a blatantly racist appeal to slow down McCain’s momentum after his surprise win in the New Hampshire primary. ABC News recently reported that McCain has hired Tucker Eskew, the spokesman for Bush’s 2000 South Carolina campaign, who was involved in producing and defending that push poll.

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