My column today (click!) is on the art of push-polling, which are not polls at all, they’re ads, or efforts to recruit helpers, or solicit funds or something.
Interestingly, last night my wife showed me a “Summer Survey 2011″ sent around by Utah’s very own Gov. Gary Herbert. You can see the poll here (click!) and you must admit, at the start, it looks like a nice simple “what would you like to tell me” sort of survey.
This is fine and dandy, until you get to the bottom where Herbert asks if you are willing to help him get reelected, work for him at convention, send him money or just generally give him your support. He also asks for your email address so he can contact you. If this survey is something official from the Governor’s office, this is totally wrong. If it’s a campaign effort, it’s deceptive.
Either way, this is pretty slimey. If Gov. Herbert wants my opinion, he should ask my opinion and that’s that. If he only wants to ask me to work on his campaign, then he should be honest about it.
Real surveys don’t ask for money, ask you to join, ask you for help or ask you to do anything but give your opinion.
Viewed as a political solicitation, the whole survey becomes worthless. He asks if my chief concern is “public lands,” but so what? His view of how to use public lands may be different from mine, but if I check that box, he can truthfully say that “this person wants me to manage public lands by keeping the federal government out of Utah.”
And so on.
In my column I quote WSU Political Science Professor Leah Murray saying that most of this sort of push polling by local politicos is the result of incompetence, not malice. I suppose we can give Herbert a little benefit of the doubt here, but not a lot. This survey is very obviously not on the up-and-up and, frankly, I think we expect more from a governor.
Gov. Herbert is either being deceptive or incompetent here. Something to consider when standing in the voting booth.