Posts have been few and far between the past few days with tons of work I’m actually paid for, so I’ve missed several chances to chime in on this Mitt push poll story (note: not a scandal … yet). The story is that Iowa voters reported receiving calls last week where the questioner asked if the voter knew about Romney’s background and noted a few of the more critical observations of the Mormon faith.
The campaign quickly pushed the story out to the media as an example of how nasty other politicians can be (early fingers even pointed at Sen. John McCain, who was actually a victim of truly scandalous push polling in South Carolina in 2000). Members of the blogosphere were quick to question whether Romney or a supporter didn’t instigate the poll to negate attacks on Mitt’s Mormonism. Those questions have received some validation in the lose ties drawn between Romney supporters and the pollsters.
Personally, I was similarly wondering if Romney’s supporters had something to do with it. After all, when you look at the questions, they’re a far cry from asking whether the voter’s impression of Romney would change if they knew he fathered an illegitimate black baby (as the push poll asserted about McCain in 2000). In fact, the questions are really just one big negative ad wrapped in a poll — something that candidates aren’t entirely opposed to doing to rate their own negatives.
That said, Mitt was shocked that people would question whether his campaign was involved in the poll.
“Obviously, the beneficiaries of push-polling that attacks me is not me. Somebody else has obviously pushed that forward. I have no idea who it was, but I hope the attorney general of New Hampshire finds out who it is, and we can get that resolved and we can know who was behind it, ” Romney told CNN.
And, you know, if I was going to push a negative poll on Romney, I’d have to include his prideful story about putting his dog on the top of his car for an hours-long trip to Canada.