I learned about push polling about 16 years ago during a mayoral race in my little city. In one corner was the anointed successor to the retiring Mayor; in the other corner was a dear friend’s father packing more money than sense.
The phone calls started “would you be more or less likely to vote for Candidate ________ if you knew he was/did/said ______ ”
The anointed won and I learned two things – I was pretty naive for a lawyer and people do awful things to (try to) win elections.
Though politics lost a little of its gloss for me that year, I remained ever hopeful that elections would be decided on issues, not narratives. That was until Kerry v. Bush introduced the “swift boaters.” By the time the election was over America was polarized as never before and I was fed up, jaded and a little bit scared. Before the 2004 election I never worried about displaying my candidate’s bumper sticker, but the day after after Kerry lost to Bush an 18 wheeler cut me off on the Ohio turnpike nearly hitting me; when I pulled out, shaking with fear, to drive past him he held up a Bush Cheney sign and gave me the finger.
Now I worry about the increasing hate and polarization generated by John McCain’s negative ad campaign. The hate that is spreading everywhere and even permeates my little town. In my mostly Jewish town I hear lots of racial slurs about Obama; I hear educated people repeat the worst lies and I worry. I worry because these are my neighbors, people I know to be educated, kind, decent people, and they should know better.
These push polls give a false veneer of credibility to the lies that distract from the real issues in this election – the economy, the war, the environment, health care and education.
So to my neighbors – if you get a call and they ask you questions suggesting things like:
Obama has had a decade long relationship with pro-Palestinian leaders in Chicago
the leader of Hamas, Ahmed Yousef, expressed support for Obama and his hope for Obama’s victory
the church Barack Obama has attended is known for its anti-Israel and anti-American remarks
Jimmy Carter’s anti-Israel national security advisor is one of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisors
Barack Obama was the member of a board (sic) that funded a pro-Palestinian charitable organization
Barack Obama called for holding a summit of Muslim nations exlcuding Israel if elected president
please understand that they are lies to manipulate vulnerable people through fear and hate tactics.
Pay attention to the issues. Get the facts before you vote.
A Republican group is taking responsibility for a poll that has roiled the Jewish community by asking sharply negative questions about Senator Barack Obama.
The Republican Jewish Coalition, which is launching a campaign against Obama on behalf of Senator John McCain, sponsored the poll to “understand why Barack Obama continues to have a problem among Jewish voters,” the group’s executive director, Matt Brooks, told Politico.
“If the RJC is responsible for these calls, which are designed to frighten Jews and sow mistrust, they have forfeited their place at the Jewish table,” said the co-executive director of the [Jewish Council for Education and Research], Mik Moore. “It is incumbent upon the McCain campaign to speak out forcefully against this and ongoing efforts by his supporters to scare Jews into supporting his candidacy.”
Tip of the hat to @Olevia for the update.