There are many dirty and underhanded things that take place during an election year: campaign flyers that don’t tell *ahem* shall we say the whole truth, campaign donations that are less than above board, and campaign workers being less than forthright with the public in their attempts to gain more votes.
One classic example of campaigns being less than honest is when it engages in what is known as a “push poll.” Many of you reading may have been a victim of one of the push polls without even knowing it; for example, if you have ever been asked a question such as “are you more or less likely to vote for candidate ‘x’ if you found out he was pro-abortion and, therefore, against family values?” As you can see, this is a very weighted question indeed – this is because the idea behind the push poll is not so much to gain information about how a voter will react to current trends, but rather to place a seed of doubt about the opponent in the brains of as many potential voters as possible and undermining your opponent.
These types of polls require a certain amount of anonymity in order to be successful. After all, if you knew that these types of loaded questions were coming from the opponent of “Candidate X” you may approach them quite differently than if you were under the impression that an independent third party were asking these same questions.
That is where HB 44, Election Polling comes into play. Representative Greg Hughes (R – Draper, District 51). The bill itself is short and sweet, only changing six lines of Utah code, but these six lines would have a dramatic effect on reducing the effectiveness of push polls. In short, the bill defines what a “poll” actually is, and requires “A person who conducts a poll (to) disclose to the person being surveyed who paid for the poll before or at the conclusion of the poll.”
Near as I can tell, there is only one problem with this bill, namely that people could have, well, a different name. I may have “The committee to elect Curtis Haring” suggest to the “Friends of Puppies Coalition” to run a push poll if only because Friends of Puppies just so happen to be entirely under the control of the committee to elect. This is no small problem, as elections are often rife with these sorts of shenanigans.
However, at the very least, they would have to disclose, and this is a step in the right direction. If nothing else, it would be far easier for groups to be identified when they are engaging in push polling – and that, in and of itself, will go a long way to reduce these misleading and underhanded campaign tactics.
To contact Rep. Hughes, Click Here or call 801-572-5305
Impact on Average Utahn:
High Impact 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 No Impact
Necessary 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 Unnecessary
Great Bill 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 . -1 . -2 . -3 . -4 . -5 Poor Bill