Friday, September 14, 2007

An Old Phone Survey, Trend Polling, and a Quick Survey

Tim Schofield is an openly gay candidate for City Council, and openly acknowledges it on the campaign trail.  Nonetheless, he does not appear to be pushing the point in public forums: it would probably turn off some voters even if they generally supported LGBT issues.

Back in June I was called for an extensive phone survey about the A-B City Council campaign. I was fairly certain then that the survey was run by Schofield's campaign, not only because he was well-positioned to raise lots of money (including his own) to pay for expensive phone surveys -- but also because the survey omitted the obvious fact that he is an openly gay politician. Any competing campaign would have used the information because, well, Schofield's just plain open about it. I thought then that Schofield was using the survey to see how identifying as an openly gay politician affected his poll numbers in A-B. The sad truth is that it probably does, even in fairly progressive A-B.

I have heard repeated reports over the last two months about short phone surveys which read off the six candidate names and ask which one they support; examples include Harry Mattison in early August and another one earlier this week.  Each report of this phone survey sounds suspiciously identical, suggesting that trend polling has been underway in Allston-Brighton by one of the campaigns.

If the June survey I attribute to Schofield was the most sophisticated one run this campaign season, the survey I just got Friday evening from the Glennon campaign was the total opposite. At the other end of the line all I heard was something like, "Can we count on your support for Greg Glennon this September?" To which I replied, "I have pledged to remain non-partisan this election year." I asked the caller if he was trying to raise campaign donations, and he said, no, they are just asking a survey consisting of one question.  Either that's one minimalistic survey, or it's a pretty gentle -- and ineffective -- kind of push polling.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

If the caller asked for support for a candidate, that wasn't a survey, it was an ID call. If the caller expressed any outright support for a single candidate, then it was either a very bad survey or not a survey at all.