Monday, April 15, 2013

Push Polling for Mayor

A push poll is an interactive marketing technique, most commonly employed during political campaigning, in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll.
Source: Wikipedia.
I've heard, secondhand, of accounts of Richardson residents receiving push polls of the mayoral election. The callers fail to identify who is paying for the telephone campaign. One such report wasn't even secondhand. I received a push poll myself. When I asked who was paying for the political advertisement disguised as a public opinion survey, I was told that information wouldn't be revealed.

After the jump, my proclamation and pledge to the candidates.

Whereas, I think both candidates, Laura Maczka and Amir Omar, are qualified to serve as mayor, with both having pros and cons that attract me and dissuade me from endorsing either one at this time; and

Whereas, I'll need something on which to decide whom to endorse; and

Whereas, I detest the practice of anonymous push polling, considering it a form of dishonesty that disqualifies one for the public trust.

Now, therefore, I do hereby pledge to endorse* the first candidate who publishes the scripts used for all telephone campaigns conducted by his or her campaign and by all political action committees that have endorsed his or her candidacy.

* Fine print, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah, I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, for any reason or for no reason.

Since we're already deep into the campaign, I won't even judge the content of the scripts. Publication of the scripts will be taken as a sign of goodwill and will be enough to absolve you of any sins the scripts might reveal.

I understand that you can't necessarily control what PACs do on your behalf, but if any PAC has endorsed you and won't join you in publishing the scripts for any telephone campaigns it runs on its own, you must disavow that PAC's endorsement in order to comply with the requirements of my pledge.

I look forward to your quick response to my pledge.


Mark Steger said...

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner -- Laura Maczka. Give me a little while to assemble the details before saying more.

Mark Steger said...

This is a statement I received from Laura Maczka:


I wanted to respond to your request for scripts. At this point, I have done no push polling nor have any of the PACs that have endorsed me, specifically the Richardson Coalition.

What I have done in the way of phone work is to personally call using a system called CallFire (which I’d be happy to give you the specifics on how it works) to the senior citizens who are registered to vote in Richardson. Again, I am personally making these calls. I have no script other than to tell them who I am and share with them why I think I should be the next mayor and hear what they have to say. If by some chance, the resident does not answer the phone, a pre-recorded message , again recorded by me personally, is left on their machine which informs them of the upcoming election and encourages them to vote. I also leave my personal cell phone number in case they would like to call me back. I have included a copy of the “script” I used to record that message.

In the spirit of full disclosure, we do plan on making some pre-recorded "Robo calls" in order to get out the vote. The scripts for those have not yet been developed but they will simply be encouraging people to get out and vote for me.

Bottom line, I am happy to share all of my records which will in fact indicate that there's nothing that has been spent on polling or telephone work other than the Call Fire system. I have personally confirmed with an executive committee member of the Richardson Coalition (the one PAC supporting me at this point) that they have not done any push polling or made any telephone calls.

I, too, have been asked many times throughout this campaign about the calls. People I know from throughout the community have received them and have asked the questions you asked as to who is paying for this and/or on whose behalf are the calls being made? They, too, have not been given answers to either of those questions.

Hope this answers your questions.


Script for recorded message

"Hello, this is Laura Maczka, your current Richardson City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem. I'm sorry I missed you, but I wanted to call and let you know about an historic opportunity. This May, for the first time in 57 years, Richardson voters will elect our Mayor by vote of the people -- not by a vote of the City Council. After serving Richardson my entire life, I am ecstatic to now be running for Mayor of our great city. I'm proud to have earned the endorsements of trusted local leaders like Gary Slagel, Steve Mitchell and John Murphy, and I'd love to earn your support as well. These folks support me because I've built a strong record on the City Council for watching taxpayer money carefully and consistently voting to strengthen our local economy. They know that I've worked hard in the private sector for over 20 years. I grew up here. My husband and I are raising our three boys here and sending them up through RISD. I understand the problems we all face because our family has faced them too.

Please call me back when you get a chance. You can reach me at 214-732-3754. It would be an honor to speak with you and earn your vote.


Mark Steger said...

This is a statement I received from Amir Omar:



Just saw your post and between my early meetings, work schedule, and a speaking opportunity this afternoon with high school students about volunteerism, I am just now getting to you.

I know you already have a winner, but transparency is something I take seriously and I will be happy to share.

For what it is worth, thus far we have done two calling efforts outside of volunteer and my personal calls. The volunteer and personal calls both start by saying we are calling on behalf of my campaign. 1st we did a true poll, not a push poll. We asked a number of questions and were able to gain a sense for name identification and value, issues that are relevant to our residents, as well as the question of who they would select as Mayor. The feedback from supporters who were called was that they were very professional and they even thought that the poll was from the other side as it spoke of Laura in very glowing terms. This was roughly 6-7 weeks ago. We didn't deliver any push during this poll as we wanted to have a clean idea of where people stood on the issues and on the Mayoral race.

After we completed our poll another extensive poll was done. Nobody has taken claim for it, but it was a poll that included many of the same aspects mine did. It was done roughly a week after ours.

We have also done some calling that describes me up front and asks voters if they would support my campaign, it should be clear they are my calls since they advocate for me upfront. Here is that script:

"Hello, I'm a calling for Amir Omar for Richardson Mayor -- this is the first election in recent history that voters will get to elect their own Mayor.

While on the City Council, Amir helped clean the city budget to find $4 million in savings for taxpayers. As Mayor, he wants to do a top-to-bottom review of every city department to find more savings that can be used for fighting crime. Amir is a volunteer with the Boy Scouts and the Young Men's Christian Association.

Will you help protect taxpayers by supporting Amir Omar for Richardson Mayor?"

It should be clear that this call is being paid for by me since it pitches me from the start.

Hope this helps! Thanks for the time and effort you put into keeping up with the issues that matter in our City.