The Campaign Spot

Paul Hodes Gives New Hampshire Voters a Push

The New Hampshire Republican party is filing a complaint with the state attorney general’s office, arguing that Paul Hodes, the Democratic congressman who’s running for Senate in that state, is behind a push poll meddling in the GOP primary. Allegedly, Hodes is hiding the fact that his campaign commissioned the poll, which he is required to disclose under state law.

This is a strikingly unwise decision on Hodes’s part, considering how according to recent polling, he trails everybody.

Okay, in a few polls, he trails Jim Bender and Ovid Lemontagne less than Kelly Ayotte or Bill Binnie. Believe me, Lemontagne will mop the floor against Hodes if he wins the primary. Hodes is stuck at about 40 percent against everybody.

UPDATE: From the state GOP’s complaint:

The Union Leader reports that Mountain West Research of Pocatello, Idaho began conducting push polling phone calls last week. The calls begin with standard questions about the participant’s age voter registration and voter history and their “favorable/unfavorable” reaction to each of the four major Republican US Senate candidates. The person receiving the call is then asked to name their first choice in the primary. If the answer is “Kelly Ayotte” the push begins.

The telemarketer then asks misleading and dishonest questions about Ms. Ayotte that attempt to distort her record and influence the person’s opinion of her candidacy. The specific line of questioning is outlined in the Union Leader article attached to this letter. One person who received a call specifically asked midway through the interview about the poll. Initially, the telemarketer refused to discuss basic information about the call.

After continuing to press the telemarketer to identify the campaign sponsoring the push poll and reveal the name of his polling firm, the person was transferred to a supervisor. The supervisor reluctantly identified Mountain West Research as the polling firm, provided a company phone number, but would not identify the campaign sponsoring the calls, citing a “confidentiality agreement.”

When the Union Leader initially contacted Mountain West Research, a company representative “refused to confirm that Mountain West Research was polling in New Hampshire or identify the sponsor of the push poll.”

A few hours later, a company representative called the Union Leader back and confirmed that they were push polling in New Hampshire and that the calls were conducted on behalf of Anzalone Liszt Research. On its website Anzalone Liszt Research promotes itself as a nationally recognized Democrat polling firm with offices in Washington, DC and Montgomery, Alabama. The company also lists Congressman Paul Hodes as one of its clients.

These calls clearly constitute “push-polling” as defined in RSA 664:2, XVIII. Despite repeated requests, the identifications required by RSA 664:16-a were never made during these push poll calls. I would be pleased to provide you with the names and contact information of people who received these calls, to supply additional information and context. I have personally spoken to these people and verified the information about the push poll calls that has been reported in the Union Leader.


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