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Public Disclosure Commission decides to take on ‘push polls’

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 22, 2010 at 11:23 am |
July 22, 2010 2:07 pm

The Public Disclosure Commission today voted to draft proposed legislation that would require disclosure in “push polls” and other kinds of political advertising by telephone.

Proposals written by staff will be considered by the commission and could be forwarded on to the Legislature as recommendations. The goal is to inform voters who’s paying for calls to their home that aim to persuade.

While still in the early stages, the proposals may not change anything about the kind of phone calls that voters have been hearing in recent weeks from organized labor and other groups, even though the calls often deliver negative messages about candidates.

That’s because the legislation may not touch polls that use a small sample size, which is generally considered the mark of a legitimate poll, as opposed to a push poll sent out to many people. Labor’s DIME PAC says it’s paying for real polls that target only a small sample of voters to test messages for the campaign.

Meanwhile, another candidate tells me he’s been the subject of a negative poll. Republican Steve O’Ban says three voters over the past month have told him about the calls in the 28th Legislative District, where he’s running against Democratic Rep. Troy Kelley.

It’s hard to tell if it’s more of DIME PAC’s message testing, since the committee isn’t saying which districts are getting calls, but the State Labor Council has made it clear it wants to keep O’Ban out of the House.

UPDATE: Kelley’s campaign says it’s not behind the calls. The campaign isn’t making negative statements about O’Ban in its polling, his campaign manager says.

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