Anti-Thompson Push Polling In Palmetto State

Let’s face it, as Republican candidates go, Fred Thompson’s a pretty easy target as points out in this funny little clip.

But easy or not, there’s never an excuse to engage in that most heinous of practices called push polling.

If you don’t know what push polling is, just take a gander at this (h/t Marc Ambinder)

The real insidious thing about push polling is not necessarily the things they say exactly (though if you want to know just how dirty push polls could get, ask John McCain and he’ll tell you all about South Carolina in 2000), but it’s the way they are packaged like an honest poll. It’s misdirection which allows organizations opposed to one candidate to disseminate information in such a way that that information is not vetted or even presented in such a manner that allows the listener to adequately deliberate upon its value.

Candidates are not given an opportunity to answer the claims made in push polls, outright false remarks can be attributed to a candidate through the use of hypotheticals, and there’s a subconscious factor here as well. If someone were to call you and ask you, “Hypothetically, if the president decided he was going to postpone presidential elections until the end of the Iraq War, would you be more likely or less likely to revolt?”, the first question that would probably cross your mind is, “Is he really thinking about doing that???”

It is the veneer of professionalism and officiality that makes push polls particularly nasty and a political tactic that is long past due to go the way of the dodo. But wait there’s more.

Commen Sense,the group that is putting out these robo calls, has already put out similar push polls in Michigan against Mitt Romney, and it seems they are tied to the Huckabee campaign. Further, South Carolina’s Attorney General, Henry McMaster, has been asked to prosecute the group for the push polls, and as Jeff Taylor points out, there’s a case to be had as Common Sense’s IRS status should legally preclude them from intervening in political campaigns.

If McMaster does step up to the plate and go after Common Sense, it is unlikely the impact will be soon enough to affect the South Carolina race where Mike Huckabee’s poll trends give him the edge, but if he or his campaign should get attached to this push polling trend, and it goes big time, that may be exactly what is needed to burst the Huckabubble going on in the Republican party right now.

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