We are the 99%

July 20, 2006

Santorum Push Poll Update!

As I blogged here, I was push polled for Rick Santorum yesterday. After I wrote that post, I sent the following email to Venture Data:

Subj: I got push polled for Santorum today!
Date: 7/19/2006 10:36:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:
To: jeffc@venturedata.com


I read your policy on "push polling" and if you're the company that showed up on my caller ID as "Venture Data3, 541-868-1309" Then you may want to review your own stated policies.

More here:

http://2politicaljunkies.blogspot.com/2006/07/i-got-push-polled-for-tricky-ricky.html

Maria
http://2politicaljunkies.blogspot.com

Jeff Call at Venture Data emailed me back the following:

Subj: RE: I got push polled for Santorum today!
Date: 7/20/2006 2:03:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Jeff.Call@venturedata.com
To:
Sent from the Internet (Details)


FYI
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/02/14/politics/main160398.shtml A GREAT article on push polls.

The article made some good points, but I took the poll and I know exactly how slimy it was so I decided to look a little deeper.

I already wondered what kind of "telephone collections experts" would feel the need to not only dedicate an entire page to their policy on "push polling," but had a link to that page prominently placed on their home page.

I mean, isn't this the equivalent to a fast food web site announcing their policy on "not spitting in your food" on their home page? Or, a law firm featuring the phrase "we're not shysters!!" on their home page?

So I decided to do a little googleling and see how other firms who do political polling handle this issue.

Guess what I found?

No surprise to me: they never mentioned "push polling" anywhere on their sites. Here's a random sample:

http://www.pbr-net.com/telephone%20data%20collection
http://www.nsoninfo.com/phone_survey.shtml
http://www.campaignsystems.com/services_polling.htm
http://www.advanced-data.com
http://www.mrsi.com/phone.html
http://www.talk2rep.com
Q. So why does Venture Data doth protest too much?
A. Because I'm not the first person who's accused them of push polling.


Here's what appeared in last week's Philadelphia Inquirer:

In 7th District, push polling comes to shove

It's going to be a long campaign season in the Seventh Congressional District, judging by opening telephone salvos against U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon and his Democratic opponent, Joe Sestak.

Dennis Berry of West Chester said that Venture Data L.L.C., a Salt Lake City polling company, asked him a series of negatively framed questions about Sestak, including one he described as outlandish. Berry said he was asked if he would be more or less likely to vote for Sestak if he knew Sestak "had an opportunity to capture Osama bin Laden in Sudan and passed."

Sestak, a retired Navy vice admiral, served as a National Security Council official in the Clinton White House. He said he had heard about the phone calls, but not the details of the message - and nothing about bin Laden.

Venture Data didn't return phone calls. Michael Puppio, Weldon's campaign manager, said that the polling company was not working for the Weldon campaign.
Wow! A twofer!

They managed to "push" and "Swiftboat" at the same time! (Hat Tip to PA-7 Watch blog, The Daily Sandwich, and The Swing State Project for the link to the philly.com article.)

There's even more on Venture Data at Green Mountain Daily (GMD).

GMD refers to Venture Data as "controversial Utah firm frequented by the GOP and implicated in scandal..."

This time the polling is being done on the behalf of Republican Rich Tarrant in his Senate race against Congressman Bernie Sanders in Vermont. Respondents are asked questions like, would still they support Sanders after knowing he "voted to not allow rape victims to know if their assailants are HIV positive?"

GMD has a link to other Venture Data work including:

Wisconsin 2002
Lautenschlager Demands End to Biskupic's Illegal 'Push Polling'

Madison. The floundering Attorney General campaign of Vince Biskupic reached a new low after reports of "push polling" calls surfaced Sunday, bought and paid for by the Biskupic campaign to smear the reputation of Democratic Attorney General candidate and former federal prosecutor Peg Lautenschlager.

"These intentionally deceptive calls distort Peg's exceptional record of public service and keeping communities safe and families secure across Wisconsin," said Lautenschlager communications director Scot Ross. "First, Vince Biskupic promised corporate contributors he would look the other way on white collar crime, then Vince Biskupic compiles a Nixonian 'Enemies List,' which includes educators and those supporting the right to choose. Now, Vince Biskupic is flat out lying about Peg's record to divert attention from his unethical dealings."

Washington, 2004
I was Just Polled

"If you knew that Mark Sidran was endorsed by Governor Locke, all the Democratic county attorneys general, and talk show host Al Franken, would you vote for him?"

Missouri, 2004 (Link is for St. Joseph News-Press search page -- no direct link available)
Rucker maligned by phone survey; Black denies role

Some South Side residents say a purported political phone survey conducted last week was actually a negative campaign tactic aimed at Democratic 29th Missouri House District candidate Martin Rucker. ...

[snip]

On its Web site, Venture Data says it “has never conducted nor participated in what
is commonly referred to as ‘push polling,’” a position company general manager

Jeff Call reiterated.“If we were involved, I can guarantee it was not a push poll,” he
said.

Finally, GMD has this to add about Venture data:

In fact, the firm was embroiled in controversy a few years back when Pennsylvania Republican House Majority Leader John Perzel used his taxpayer-funded expense account to have Venture (and many other firms) do a hit job on a Democratic target:
Perzel paid $42,000 to Venture Data, a Salt Lake City polling firm, in December. His spokesman said pollsters called 800 Pennsylvania residents and asked them "public policy" questions, but that spokesman would not release the actual questions. Jeff Call, the company's general manager, did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment.
Now we don't know who actually commissioned the Lil Ricky poll (and I doubt we ever will), but whether it was the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Voting Rights for Blastocysts Now!, or Lil Ricky himself, we think it's the perfect match of vendor and client.

7 comments:

Gort said...

I've gotten these sort of calls for years.

dusty said...

Lil Ricky is desperate isn't he?

Anonymous said...

Great digging!

Maria said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I got a call tonight from a man from this company who claimed to be taking a poll. It was a push poll - but he wasted 4 minutes of my time asking what sounded like reasonable questions. I was delighted to hear that Curt Weldon is worried enough to be paying for that sleazy organization to sling his dirt. Makes me think Sestak will win.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say something here, if I may. To play "Devil's Advocate," if you will.

"Push Polls," are not always sponsored by the individual you might think they are.

Many candidates will have research done where they slam themselves, to see how voters react to negative comments about themselves. The primary objective is to discover how much the negative portions of their voting history or 'scandals' will sway the constituents.

Now, not all "push polls," are done by the slandered party, but sometimes they are. I just wanted to point out this technique to those of you who may not be aware of this strategy.

Additionally, in -any- poll, there is a full spectrum of choices available to the respondent (respondent being the person answering the questions). There is always an agree/disagree, a scale of 1-10, where you can choose -any- number to represent your feelings, or in an "open-end," wherein you have the freedom to talk freely, unconstrained by a list of "choices." So, even these "push polls" are designed so that you -can- disagree with -everything- being said.

In my opinion, the best thing a person can do when being called for any type of poll, including "push-polls," is to go through the survey. Just do it. If everyone who feels the way you do hangs up, no one will know how you feel. And that's not doing -anyone- justice. Not you, not the candidate sponsoring the poll (as I said, this could be the candidate you hate, -or- the one you like - you never know!), nor the results of that poll.

Use the range of options available to you to express your opinions. That's what these polls are for. Sometimes you have to play to win the game, so to speak.

purrplekat1989 said...

I read both of your articles on push polling from Venture Data. I'd just like to say that not even the people who work there like doing those polls. As an ex-employee of the VD call center in Oregon I can honestly say it was the most soul sucking two years of my life and getting fired was the best thing to happen to me in that entire time. Even if I don't qualify for unemployment because of it. :/ I'd rather be homeless than work there any longer. The entire company sucks.

You think it's bad that you get calls pushing you to vote one way or another? Try being the one on the receiving end of an irate someone wishing death -yes death- on you and your family because you called them at 7 o'clock at night. God help you if it's the last day a 25 minute poll is running and they have to fill a certain demographic so you're trapped calling some state until as late as 11:00 their time trying to talk to... let's say African American women under the age of 45.

It's hell on earth.

I've started rambling.

TL;DR: Venture Data is not any better a company to work for than it is a "nonbiased" one.