Friday, August 04, 2006

Johnson Accuses Lee of Using Push Polls in CFO Campaign

Rep. Randy Johnson (see photo) accused Sen. Tom Lee of using "push polls" against him. The Republican legislators are locked in a tight battle for the GOP nomination for CFO.

"The callers of course did not identify themselves, but wasted no time in asking voters if they would still vote for state Rep. Randy Johnson if they knew the following information, and then proceeded to spew personal untruths and innuendo about my character," Johnson said on August 2nd.

Lee, naturally, denies the charge.

Voter Consumer Research Inc., a Houston-based firm, conducted phone calls into Florida. The pollsters — who used information from news reports and Johnson's state house campaign finance reports — asked residents if they would vote for Johnson if they knew he had spent campaign money on items such as dry cleaning, Brooks Brothers and fine china.

Those expenditures were made at least three years ago when Johnson was running for reelection for his House seat, and before lawmakers, under pressure from Lee, tightened restrictions on campaign spending and reporting.

Johnson spent $221.97 for "dry cleaning" in his 2002 reelection campaign. The dry cleaning was for red, white and blue bunting that adorned the stages of his campaign stops, according the Johnson campaign.

President George W. Bush has used Voter Consumer Research for polling on various occasions over the last decade.

According to the Mystery Pollster, a push poll is defined at follows:

If the sponsor intends to communicate a message to as many voters as possible rather than measure opinions or test messages among a sample of voters, it qualifies as a "push poll."

However, many people mistake an ordinary poll, which will legitimately test responses to negative messages, for a push poll. Signs that a poll is a "push poll" rather than legitimate survey research include a caller not bothering with the time consuming tasks performed by most real pollsters, such as asking a lot of questions or asking to speak to a specific or random individual within the household.


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