Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Push Calls and Swing States

The newest tactic of McCain's campaign? Calling Jewish voters in swing states and trying to link Barack Obama to Palestinian interests.

This article on the AP reports that several Jewish voters received so-called "push poll" calls that began with being asked if they were Jewish, if they were Orthodox or Reform, and how often they attended synagogue. Then they were asked if their voting choice would be influenced if they found out that Barack Obama was connected to Palestinian interests. One woman who objected to the tone and invasive nature of the questions was told by the pollster that, had she said she wasn't Jewish, she would have been disqualified from the poll. A Pennsylvania resident was asked a series of questions which implied that Obama was anti-Semitic and secretly in league with the pro-Palistinian terrorist group, Hamas.

If you can remember back as far as the year 2000 (which feels to me a little like it should be followed by the letters "B.C." these days), the most infamous incidence of "push polling" took place in the Carolinas during the Republican primary race, a tightly fought campaign between George W. Bush and John McCain. Voters in North and South Carolina were called and asked if they would be influenced in their voting if they learned that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate child with a black woman. The results of the push poll were devastating and McCain ended up losing in both states. I guess he figured it was such an effective technique against him, he should employ it against Obama. Why trifle with a winning strategy, after all?

When contacted for comment, John McCain's campaign, so quick to put Tucker Bounds in front of a microphone for every opportunity to justify Obama smears everywhere else, failed to return the AP's call.

Maybe they couldn't find an open phone line.


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