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Anti-Romney Push Polling by Western Wats

John on November 16, 2007 at 2:48 pm

People in both states have received calls which sound like opinion polls but then turn into Mormon bashing. The press has figured out who placed the calls, a company called Western Wats based in Utah:

Western Wats, a Utah-based company, placed the calls that initially sound like a poll but then pose questions that cast Romney in a harsh light, according to people who received the calls. In politics, this type of phone surveying is called ”push polling” — contacting potential voters and asking questions intended to plant a message, usually negative, rather than gauging attitudes.

A spokesman for the company would not comment on whether it made the calls. However, its client services director, Robert Maccabee, said, “Western Wats has never, currently does not, nor will it ever engage in push polling.”

Sounds like a technical argument over what constitutes “push polling.” I guess we’ll find out now that the New Hampshire AG has promised to investigate.

In response, Western Wats now has a press release up on their contact page arguing the point. Note how slippery the last paragraph is though:

Western Wats is a survey research data collection firm which services the opinion survey research and marketing research industries. Western Wats does not design or determine the content of the surveys it operationalizes by telephone or over the Internet, nor does it analyze or use the data for its own purposes. Confidentiality agreements prohibit us from commenting on specific projects and/or clients.

In other words, we can’t say who payed us to make those calls but it was their idea not ours. I think there’s some truth to that actually, but as long as the name of the candidate who wrote the scripts for those calls remains a secret, Western Wats is going to remain the villain here.

Of course, if someone from Western Wats would like to leave an anonymous comment with the name of whose really behind this, suddenly the heat would shift to the person that bears real responsibility.

The same Miami Herald article notes possible links to both the McCain campaign and the Guliani campaign. Both camps deny it. I’d put my money on McCain or someone working on his behalf. If so, he’s toast.

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