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Covering that controversial NH poll

by Pat Dooris

Bio | Email | Follow: @PatDoorisKGW

Posted on January 16, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:39 PM

By Pat Dooris

I've covered a fair number of political campaigns and the results of various polls. But I've never been able to get the raw questions that go into polls---until now.
Read excerpt from poll questions
Monday I came into possession of the questions created by Portland company Moore Information, as part of a series of calls made November 11, 2007 to 400 New Hampshire voters.

We've included a link to those questions below:

Pollsters I talked with in Portland said they do not believe the questions are part of a "push poll" a sort of dirty politics way of planting bad---and sometimes false information in the mind of the voters.

They point out that a classic push poll involves two or three questions or statements which are read to thousands of potential voters. The company conducting the push poll does not typically gather demographic information or even record the response. The effort is not geared at data gathering. Its to plant information.

While that may be the definition of push polls amongst pollsters---its not the definition used in New Hampshire.

Under that state's law, a push poll is defined as having all three of the following:

1. The call is on behalf of, in support of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.
2. The recipient is asked questions relative to opposing candidates which state, imply or convey information about the candidate's character, status, record, or political stance.
3. The call is conducted in a manner likely to be construed by the voter to be a survey or poll to gather statistical data for entities that are independent of any political party, candidate, or interest group.

It also has to be aimed at the general election.

Today (1/16/08), a member of the AG's office will be in Oregon, asking a Multnomah County judge to force company owner Bob Moore, and one of his employees to fly back to New Hampshire and answer questions in front of a grand jury.

Specifically---the AG wants to know who hired Moore to form those questions. Moore won't say.

Under New Hampshire law, if the AG can prove that the questions were aimed at the general election (Moore has said they were aimed at the primary) and that a candidate or campaign paid for them (as opposed to an independent 3rd party trying to gauge who to support) then it would qualify under state law as a "push poll".

What do you think?