Whose Push Poll Is It Anyway? Going Negative on Clinton, Obama; Positive on Edwards

By Brian Ross And Avni Patel

Dec 19, 2007 12:43pm

Iowa Democrats are being hit with a new round of "opinion poll" calls this week that stress negative qualities of Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama and praise John Edwards as a man who "has spent his life fighting powerful interests." Click here to hear the call. The calls come from operators who say they are "out of state" and are conducting an opinion poll for a "research company." It’s what known in politics as a push poll with the ostensible poll taker, in fact, pushing negatives about a particular candidate. "Our campaign has nothing to do with this," said Marc Kornblau, a spokesman for the Edwards campaign. There was no immediate comment from the Clinton campaign, and the Obama campaign declined to comment on the calls.
Here is the transcript of one call received Tuesday by a Des Moines woman who is a registered Democrat likely to attend the caucus next month. She recorded the call at the request of the Blotter on ABCNews.com. Question #1: Which Democratic presidential candidate do you think will fight the hardest for working people? Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards? Question #2: Which of the following do you think will most help someone be a better president?  Being the spouse of the president? Serving as a community organizer? Or working as a trial lawyer who fought many big corporations? Question #3: I’m going to read the description of some of the candidates and ask if it concerns you. First, Hillary Clinton changes her position on important issues too often. She has said that she would not eliminate Bush’s tax cuts that give special treatment to the rich. Is this very concerning, somewhat, not so concerning or not at all concerning?  Question #4: Barack Obama has little experience at the federal level where he was a senator. He repeatedly refused to vote against legislation that threatened a woman’s right to choose. Instead, he voted present. Is this very concerning, somewhat, not so concerning or not at all concerning?  Question #5: John Edwards is a liberal trial lawyer who supports mandated universal health care coverage at a time the government is already spending too much money. Is this very concerning, somewhat, not so concerning or not at all concerning?  Question #6: A recent nationwide polls says that Hillary Clinton may be a weak general election candidate. The polls shows that Clinton is the only Democrat who would lose to all five major Republican candidates in the November election. How concerned are you that if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, the Democrats may lose the presidential campaign? Question #7: Barack Obama has taken over $12 million from the financial industry and its lobbyists. In the Senate, he was one of the only 15 Democrats who supported the financial industry by allowing predatory lenders to target (unintelligible and the poor by charging unlimited interest on their credit cards and loans.  Is this very concerning, somewhat, not so concerning or not at all concerning?  Question #8: John Edwards believes that politicians in Washington keep changing the rules so big corporations and the super rich receive special breaks and the rest of us who play fair get stuck with the bills. Edwards has spent his life fighting powerful interests and has never taken a dime from the lobbyists. As president, he will fight to make the system fair.  Is this very concerning, somewhat, not so concerning or not at all concerning?  Question #9: Barack Obama began his career as an organizer in Chicago and has fought for civil rights issues and for (unintelligible) people. He has served both as a state senator and in the U.S. Senate. Is this very, somewhat, not so or not at all persuasive to you? When asked who he worked for, the caller said he had no idea who was a Democrat or a Republican. The caller ID of the call showed: 000-000-0000. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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