Push Polling in South Carolina. Again.

South Carolina is legendary for dirty politics and push polling specifically. Now a mysterious group called SSI Polling is doing one of the most blatant push polls you’ll ever see in the race between Elizabeth Colbert-Busch and Mark Sanford. Here are some of the questions:

- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?”

- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you a judge held her in contempt of court at her divorce proceedings?

- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?”

- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?”

This is how push polling is done, you call and ask hypothetical questions like this. You don’t actually say that she had an abortion or had done jail time, you just ask how they would feel if she had. And you plant a seed in their minds that these things actually happened when they didn’t. The most famous example is from 2000, when the Bush campaign did a push poll in this same state asking how they would feel if they knew that John McCain had a biracial daughter (he has an adopted daughter who was born in Bangladesh, who was a little girl at the time). It’s disgusting.

13 comments on this post.
  1. No One:

    How would you feel if Iraq had WMDs?

  2. some bastard on the net:

    “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?”

    Oh, noes! Not teh charge account! Only about half or more ‘Murrikans have done that! *faints*

  3. Zeno:

    This must be a partial list of questions. I didn’t see “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she sacrificed infants to Satan and drank their blood?”

  4. poxyhowzes:

    I’ve been push-polled exactly once in my life (not in either Carolina) and my response to the first push question was a very polite: “I do not think push-polling is a responsible technique.” (Of course my poller had not said that this was a push-poll, and may not have been aware of the term.)

    When that didn’t work, (the poller, after all, was just reading a SCRIPT!) my response was: “That’s the wrong question: the correct question is what would I think of YOU if *you* said [whatever]?” I actually had to give this response twice, to two different questions before the poller gave up. The second time, I asked, “and what is your name?”

    Incidentally, I’m retired and sometimes have the time to play games like this. — pH

  5. Reginald Selkirk:

    Just Asking Questions. Otherwise known as
    JAQing off

  6. John Hinkle:

    Playing dirty can go both ways…

    What would you think if Mark Sanford had a foot fetish?

    What would you think if someone asked Mark Sanford “where is the most erotic place you’ve made love” and he responded “up the butt”?

    What would you think if Mark Sanders asked his ex-wife to run his campaign after he lied to her about his whereabouts while still married, had sex with another woman whom he called his “soul mate,” and then had the balls to think no one would really care and hey, he’s running for public office again and wants your vote?

  7. Draken:

    At 12:55pm on February 25th, Wolford’s cell phone lit up with “Unavailable” on the caller ID screen.

    That’s one reason why I don’t answer these.

  8. fifthdentist:

    What would you think of Mark Sanford if I told you “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” means mutual anilingus followed by sodomizing goats?

  9. Trebuchet:

    Awww, no. 5 beat me to it.

  10. Reginald Selkirk:

    At 12:55pm on February 25th, Wolford’s cell phone lit up with “Unavailable” on the caller ID screen.
    Draken: That’s one reason why I don’t answer these.

    Unfortunately for me, my employer blocks their number on outgoing calls, so I have to answer those.

  11. steffp:

    @ #6
    How about Don’t cry for me, Argentina?”

  12. cactuswren:

    “What would I think if someone I’ve never met or even heard of called me and interrupted what I’m doing to make an assertion, with no documentation, that Elizabeth Colbert Busch had done jail time? I would wonder who had a vested interest in trying to smear her name.”

  13. caseloweraz:

    In addition to #6, “What would you think of someone who, as governor, disappeared for a week without leaving anyone in charge or giving contact information?”

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