It's only July, for heaven's sake, but already there's talk about a push poll. The candidates aren't even official yet. (That occurs Monday for major party candidates)
A couple of people have posted to blogs that they received telephone calls last weekend that they judged to be promoting one gubernatorial candidate over another. Assistant House Democratic Leader Floyd Nease of Johnson also asserted in a published column that a push poll had taken place. These various account report that push was against House Speaker Gaye Symington, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and toward Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, who is running for re-election.
"The governor has never and will never push poll," said Dennise Casey, Douglas' campaign manager. "He doesn't believe that this tactic has a place in Vermont politics."
Eric Davis, who recently retired from the political science department at Middlebury College, has followed the buzz. "I would say there probably was some calling going on. I don't think these bloggers made it up."
Was it a push poll? Who paid for it? Both unknowns, Davis said.
What is a push poll? Davis defined it as a coordinated sometime automated calling effort designed to spread less than complete or biased information about a candidate. It is used to spread information rather than do public opinion research.
Push polls are sometimes conducted by unaffiliated partisan groups without the knowledge of a candidate, but could be perceived as advancing the cause of the candidate.
Will we ever know what really took place last weekend?
-- Nancy Remsen