The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management PMGT 6460 Audience Research: Push Polling By: Alexander Gomez

Push polling is a highly manipulative technique in telemarketing to try and persuade a potential voter to vote a certain way.  Oftentimes, inaccurate or biased information is used as a method to discredit an opponent or disqualify their experience to hold office.  It uses forms of slander to effectively coerce a caller into understanding that an opponent may be disreputable without any real basis in fact.

Polling firms are adamant about stopping push polling because of its unethical practice when used to slander or create a libelous environment counter to an opponents true abilities.  In time, such telemarketing strategies will create continued skepticism about the viability of polls or audience research by undermining it’s accuracy to impartially analyze data.

Push polling differs from legitimate polls because the questions asked refer to an opponents standing record on certain political ideologies while misconstruing information in order to cause reputable damage.  For example,  if a candidate were considered Pro-Choice, a push pollster could use that information against the candidate by conducting a telemarketing calls that refer to the candidate as an abortionist or ask questions like “would you consider voting for a candidate who believes in killing babies?”  The question represents information that has been manipulated in order to deter the caller from continuing their support for the candidate and effectively changing the callers voting behavior without the opponent being able to defend themselves.

A legitimate poll would inquire as to the nature of pro-life referendums, successful policy implementation, and what, if any, were the basis for their political stand.  To sum everything up as just “baby-killers” effectively alienates the candidate from larger voter base who may be in line with other political ideologies which could be favorable to a larger audience like economics, domestic policy, foreign policy, or immigration.  Push polling centralizes on a particular demographic and ostracizes an opponent by targeting unfavorability over viablity.


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