Friday, October 17, 2008

Is Esch push polling?

In an article in the LJS today, Micah Mertes quotes yours truly regarding information found on blogs. The quote reads:

But more information is a good thing, Street Sweeper says, so long as readers know “to rarely believe the first thing they read.”

With that in mind, we present to you a "poll" found on a Democrat blog, Swing State Project:

Nebraska, 2nd District

Lee Terry: 47%
Jim Esch: 46%
Undecided: 7%

John McCain: 48%
Barack Obama: 44%
Undecided: 8%

Now, a few things to note here. First, why exactly is Swing State holding the cards on a poll done by a Washington outfit? Well, we can only assume that the Esch camp (or possibly the DCCC) commissioned the poll and needed someone "independent" to break the news.

So why not send it directly to the Omaha World Herald, or Joe Jordan at KMTV?

Well, that would be because the new organization would ask for the full crosstabs to see what questions were actually asked.

Note that Swing State gives out "partial crosstabs", and references some ethnic makeup statistics that the reader doesn't actually get to see.

So what does this tell us? That this is more than likely a push-poll.

Something along the lines of, "If I told you that Jim Esch once rescued puppies from a burning outhouse and that Lee Terry stole his gold plated socks from your grandmother, who would you be more likely to vote for?"

Further evidence? Remember back in July when LJS columnist Don Walton, who is willing to print rumors, talked about an Esch poll? Same situation, where no one was willing to actually come forward with the poll. But now of course, they cite that poll for their trendlines, when that more than likely was based on the same push questions.

**UPDATE 4pm Friday**
We have info from poll-ees that this is exactly what happened, and this was most likely a "push poll".

Like we said above, we believe more information is better than less information. However, we also noted that if a source can't tell you where that information came from, it is not worth your time.

Consider that while viewing this latest "poll".


FEC reports were submitted on Wednesday, and you probably saw most of the information.

In the 2nd District race that seems to garner our attention, Lee Terry out raised Jim Esch for the quarter by about $8,000.

Of course the irony in that is that Esch also paid himself $8,000 from the funds raised.

Then again, Esch once again raised around $40,000 from people with the last name of "Esch", so it's all moving from the back pocket to the front pocket to the shirt pocket.

But seeing as we are seventeen days out, the main number to look at is Cash on Hand. Here Terry, with over $500K, nearly doubles Esch.

The Esch folks will counter that that number doesn't mean as much considering the DCCC made a half million dollar ad buy for Esch a few days ago.

Which may be true, unless the NRCC comes in for Terry. Which we will keep our eyes peeled for...


In their debate last night, Esch chastised Terry for not being more like Esch's apparent hero, Republican Congressman Adam Putnam. Putnam, a 34 year old rep who has been in the House for seven years is part of the Republican leadership.

Esch says that if he gets elected, HE'LL be part of the leadership! Mmm hmm. Yup we're sure a pro-life Democrat freshman with no prior legislative (or any other kind of ) experience will be right there next to Speaker Pelosi (whose positions Esch continually criticizes).

See, Putnam became buds with former Speaker Hastert to get on the leadership path. That and he also had spent five years in the Florida Legislature. Jim might want to consider getting himself elected to something (or, you know, having a job) before he runs for Speaker just yet.


Mike Johanns and Scott Kleeb battled it out for the last time in Grand Island last night.

Kleeb took a shot at Johanns, saying that he must support a Bush position because Johanns considered talking about it in Lincoln...but didn't.

Johanns response: Kleeb might have hurt his back leg on that, because "that's the biggest stretch I have ever heard."


Question: Why does Kleeb think it's OK to take shots at Johanns at the debates, or in interviews, but not run a TV spot criticizing Johanns? What's the difference?

Is Kleeb interested in winning, or is this just another vanity run for him? We are curious.

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Anonymous said...

Is there any strength to the claim that Johanns might have violated the Hatch Act?

OmaSteak said...

Isn't anything to do with Scott Kleeb always a "vanity thing" since his only major accomplishment seems to have been marrying Ms. Jane???

Anonymous said...

Lincoln Journal Star, June 25, 2005:

The scheduled purpose of Johanns' Monday trip to Lincoln was to promote Social Security reform, passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement and other President Bush preferences in a 30-minute speech to the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

But all the media questions at the 10-minute news conference that followed were about the situation surrounding Johanns' Friday announcement of the case of mad cow disease, a brain-wasting disease that can be passed to humans who eat infected meat.

Eric said...

Anzalone Liszt research is a Democratic pollster. In my opinion, you can't trust polls done by partisan pollsters. Although, I'm still surprised that the "media" isn't jumping all over it. It seems like they usually don't have that big of a problem reporting on rumor and innuendo of even internal polls with no details of methodology disclosed.

Pipsisewah said...

I was at the debate last night. When Bill Dunn of the GI Independant asked Johanns about the 38 political trips he took at the taxpayers expense, he blamed it on his staff. His face was as red as a strawberry. When Kleeb brought up the Ag Depts travelgate problems with 4 star hotels and trips to Australia, Hawaii and other places while closing FSA offices in Nebraska to save money, Johanns said nothing. You may be conservative with your own money, but you have no trouble wasting mine.

I'm surprised Johanns didn't say he was just doing what he was told to do. When Johanns went into his reaching across the aisle speech, Kleeb mentioned that neither a Republican or Democrat voted for the Bush/Johanns farm bill. Not one member of the ag committee.

I wish they could have a debate every night til elections. Iron Mike shows more and more everyday that he is a career political player. I hope they pursue Rove, Cheney, and all of the cabinet members who broke the law. After the election, their get out of jail free cards, and I don't answer subpoena cards will do them no good.

You broke the law Johanns. At the very least, you should pay back the cost of the campaign trips from the 1.25 million you have. Even your campaign managers spin was that "most" of the trips were ag business. But then again, most of us who have followed Nebraska politics would expect no different from St. Johanns.

Eric said...

And... it wasn't the DCCC who commissioned the poll. These guys are Esch's pollster. Says so right on the front page of their website. This is just one of their internals, so take it for what it's worth.

Street Sweeper said...


Point taken, and post updated.

Though since we don't actually know, and both are A/L clients, it could be either one.


Eric said...

I suppose you're right. It could be either (or both?). I just thought it was weird to see his name near the end of their "client announcements" list if it wasn't his poll.

Uncle Wiggily said...

"Is there any strength to the claim that Johanns might have violated the Hatch Act?"

Yellow blogalism at its worst ... just toss out some despicable allegation with no reference, no checkable facts, no context ... just hateful spew.

How about if I said:

"Any truth to the claim that Kleeb might have violated the Mann Act?"

Disgusting ....

macdaddy said...

Hey, Hillary's coming to town according to KFAB! I think we'll get a look at the GOTV effort for Obama as it is obvious to everyone that they need to have at least as many people show up to see Hillary as showed up to see Palin.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Wiggily,

The hatch act is listed here:

Then there is this story:

"The White House directed officials including cabinet secretaries to appear at more than 300 events to help elect Republican candidates in 2006, according to a draft Congressional report."

"Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez attended 59 events, followed by former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, who attended 38, and Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao, who attended 25, according to the draft report."

So what again is disgusting about that?

Did I miss something about the Mann Act and Scott Kleeb? Could you please clear that up for me?

Anonymous said...

I love it. A report comes out that indicates taxpayer waste and possible violations of law by Republicans, and specifically/directly involving Mike Johanns, and Uncle Wiggly tries to claim Scott Kleeb is involved with White Slavery. Talk about one of the most hysterical and most idiotic reachs based on desperation that has ever been seen!!

Johanns spent my tax money to campaign for Republicans. He then tries to blame his staff for it. It's shown the USDA under his watch wasted MILLIONS to send employees on trips to resorts, islands, Las Vegas while shutting down FSA offices, but he tries to claim everything was legitimate. He claims to be a fiscal conservative, but he has no problem talking out of his ass to cover up the waste he was directly responsible for. He could care less about Nebraskans, because he will always put Mike first, and what Stephanie wants him to do next.

BB said...

Yeah, and Scott Kleeb led Adrian Smith two weeks before the election in ' his own poll. We all know how accurate that poll was.

Anonymous said...

Terry's COH: $514K
Esch's COH: $266K

That looks like about $250K difference, not $500K.

Street Sweeper said...

Yup. Will change.
I originally had "nearly double".
It was my understanding that there would be no math on this blog.
Long week...

bystander said...

I think I have posted 3 times on this blog before but I'm regular reader. I wonder how many others are out there like me just waiting to see if Esch can pull this one out. If he does, we'll just giggle at SS's anguish. If he loses, no one will be too surpised. Go esch!

Lightfinger said...

First, I have been push-polled by the Esch campaign. I wish there would have been a way to record it.

Second, the NRCC pulled funds away from some likely losing districts, and Terry's district was listed as one where the money will be redirected into. I would expect a NRCC ad coming soon.

Third, if you want to start talking about Johanns violating the law, you'd best look at Obama's now two known and reported violations of trying to perform foreign policy in opposition to the country on two foreign trips paid for by the taxpayer (Iraq and Kenya).

Uncle Wiggily said...

My statement re Kleeb was intended, of course, to illustrate the basic unfairness of just throwing out castigating statements about candidates (whether left or right), but it was naturally (and intentionally, I suspect) misconstrued. My bad ... I know Democrats read and comment here and I should have known better than to try to elucidate logical/argumentational fallacies - even one as egregious as this. Those blinded by the sickly light of unthinking liberal ideologies often tend to be strikingly immune to logic, truth, and justice.

At least Anonymous 11:34 AM, under pressure, did come up with a couple of URL's containing information that, while far from dispositive, at least glancingly addressed his allegation (Anonymous 12:33 PM). I would be much more impressed with a definitive statement from a recognized law enforcement agency specifically tying Johanns (or anyone) to infraction of the Hatch Act.

Anonymous 12:48 PM's rantings are too silly to warrant a response.

It's just politics, folks ... if we can't be civil, let's at least try to be fair.

Jane K. said...

Thanks Leavenstreetworth!!!! Scott is getting some free press. We were a little light on our TV buy so we are focusing on the Blogoshere!!! Off to shoot an MTV video..we are doing a "Cribs" video of Jim Esch's pad.

Upset taxpayer said...

I want to thank those on the Omaha City Council that voted for the Union Contracts that are going to financially ruin this city. 2 things you don't do as mayor or city councilman, 1) lose the CWS and 2) lose our AAA bond rating. You will have the taxpayers on the hook for your blunder for the next 20 years in increased pension liabilities and increased borrowing costs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, "lightfinger", but you and SS need to learn what a push poll is. Asking questions like "if the election were today who would you vote for" is NOT a push poll. The one linked is not a push poll. It's a regular poll.

As for your "yeah, but" line, you are just trying to bury your head in the sand. It's clear Johanns was one of the top puppets of the Bush administration and had no qualms wasting taxpayer funds for political reasons. And in doing so, there are possible Hatch Act violations. Deal with it.

Pipsisewah said...

My whole problem with Johanns is that he has preached from his high horse so long he actually is starting to believe himself. His campaign manager, Sarah Pompei, said in a press release, according to the LJS, that "many" of those trips were business related. Many? If any of the trips were political in nature, they were wrong. Right is right, wrong is wrong. Does Nebraska deserve a Senator that is already versed in bending the law when it is to his advantage. Do we deserve a Senator who does as he is told? So much for standing up against partisan politics. You got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, and the crumbs are still on your face. Go sit in the corner Pious Mike.

The higher your pedestal, the longer your fall.

Anonymous said...

AND, Anzolne Lizst boasts Jim Esch as a client of their media consultant business on their website as early as July of this year.

They must provide all questions and their corresponding answers to overcome their bias hurdle. I doubt that they will.

Anonymous said...

Lightfinger may not have been able to record the push poll, but, I bet he remembers what was said to him and how it was asked.

Something like this, "How would you feel about Congressman Terry if you knew,..." This is a push poll.

"If I told you X, would that make you more or less likely to vote for Congressman Terry? Would that be much less or a lot less?" This is push polling.

I think everyone should feel free to post the questions that were asked of them in the poll that was taken on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

asecurityguard said...

"gold plated socks"... I wasn't aware there was such a thing.

Street Sweeper said...

As was of course going to happen, we now have info from poll-ees, who were called.

They have confirmed that this was a "push poll" and the caller rattled off a number of "questions" to slant their poll results.

We may change the title of this post...

Anonymous said...

You should all be a little more careful about how you throw these terms around.

A "push-poll" is very different than a _partisan_ poll.

Many partisan polls ask how you are planning on voting. The pollster then asks gives you information on one or both candidates. This information can be positive or negative, about either candidate. The pollster then asks again who you are voting for, to see if the info changed your mind.

The candidate who hired the pollster for this type of poll may be trying to move the numbers in the poll more in their own favor, so that their poll numbers look better, so they get more media attention and fundraising, etc.

Partisan polls are also designed this way to try out different lines of attack to see how much of an affect they have on the voting populace. If "candidate X misses most votes in congress" gets more people to change their minds on the phone than "candidate X voted against war funding," then you may well see an attack ad themed on missing votes on tv soon.

That is NOT an example of a push poll.

A "push poll" is something different entirely. In fact, a push poll isnt really a poll at all.

A push poll is when a campaign, or a firm hired by a campaign, POSES as a polling firm, with the specific intention of spreading negative information, usually false (though not always) about the opposing candidate.

The most popular example of a push poll would be Bush's push poll agianst John McCain in 2000 in South Carolina, when callers who said they were voting McCain were asked, "If you knew John McCain had fathered a black child out of wedlock, would you be more or less likely to vote for him?" Though reports of this "poll" were wide-spread, no results of this poll were ever published.

Push polls dont have results, they dont have cross-tabs, and they arent done by firms like anzalone (at least not publicly).

Street Sweeper, if you are going to call this a push poll, you should list here for all of your readers the questions that the poll-ees were asked. If the attacks on Terry in the poll were more of the tame variety, or true, this isnt a push poll. Its definitely a partisan poll, and it might even be a poorly done poll, or an inaccurate poll. But its not a push poll.

Of course, there is another possibility. If the caller identified themselves as being from the Esch campaign, and then asked who the person was voting for, and then tried to persuade them with positive info on esch, or negative info on terry, that isnt push polling either. Or even regular polling. Thats campaigning.

The Chukkar said...

Sorry, Anonymous, but you are right and you are wrong. If a poll asks any leaning questions, it is a "push poll," but the nature of the questions determines whether it is a derogatory push poll or a "partisan poll" as you described. Just as a rectangle is also considered a square, but a square is always a square, so a Partisan poll is also considered a push poll.

Eric said...

Now wait a minute, you claim you have evidence that this is a push poll? The questions that they asked are shown, and they don't seem push pollish to me. The poll is an internal poll, and it is very likely that it has a partisan tilt (not necessarily because of the questions that were asked), but that is very different than a push poll.

Anonymous said...

If the Terry campaign has evidence that these numbers are not accurate, they should release their own poll.

You are all being either intentionally obtuse or you just don't understand how partisan polls work. "More likely/less likely to vote for questions" are asked after the initial survey questions to know what messages work.

Terry's campaign is asking the same sort of questions about Esch. You know why? Because every campaign does. An internal poll that doesn't actually reflect voter sentiments is not useful at all to a campaign.

Anonymous said...

McCain will win

Johanns will win

Terry will win

That is all........

Sounds good to the ear now doesn't it:)

Anonymous said...

Lot's of push polling going on. I know because I had a "FEW" of them. Seems like even the NSEA is using their house out of Utah.

All you have to do is say you are undecided and they will ask you the push questions.

Oh and of course they have to say who they are and who is paying for the poll.

Oh and Mcain/Johanns/Terry are going to win:)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of polls, KETV cited one of Esch's the other night but provided NO information about it. What kind of crap journalism is that?...oh yeah, "Channel 7 Journalism." Naturally it told a good Esch story and a bad Terry one. Just to capture the feeling, I'll post this comment anonymously...

Anonymous said...

Since Kleeb lost to Smith for a congressional seat, he thought hey maybe I should run for Senate. So when this is over and he still hasn't won does this mean he will run for President? Talk about dense.....

oh and McCain/Johanns/Terry are going to win.

Anonymous said...

Well Eric, since you're so keen on claiming this wasn't a poll since the media didn't pick up on it, check out Chris Cillizza's blog on the Washington Post yesterday, where he moved NE-02 to the Obama column in part because of this poll. Cillizza has a long track record of knowing what he's talking about when it comes to predicting election results, and it's highly unlikely that he'd put so much stock in a single poll if it wasn't reliable.