Saturday, September 12, 2009

One Gentle Reader Tips Us Off to a Suspicious Ongoing Telephone "Poll"

Is someone currently in the process of conducting an election-related "push poll?"

Interesting email which has been sitting on the back-burner for the past couple of days, concerning a purported Mount Ogden Golf Course-related telephone survey, which is reportedly being conducted in the Ogden area. Our reader's missive contains a query which we'll pass on to our gentle readers:
Wednesday, September 9, 2009, 4:58 PM

Has anyone gotten a phone call from an independent research group asking questions about raising taxes to cover the $250,000 deficit that the Mt. Ogden Golf Course costs the city? The 1st question was about the million dollar revamp that's needed to improve the course. I asked the questioner who was conducting this survey and said that I had an issue with the assumption behind the 1st question--mainly that it assumed that millions were needed to revamp it. Some of the other questions involved re-zoning the areas adjacent to the course.

Becky McShane
Given the timing, we believe it's reasonable to infer that this "poll" may be related to the pending Ogden municipal election, and that one or more council candidates may be interested in accomplishing something other than collecting and analyzing response data.

So to fine tune our reader's query we'll ask this: Is someone currently in the process of conducting an election-related "push poll?"

Broadly defined, a push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. The Center for Media and Democracy provides a slightly narrower definition: "A push poll is where, using the guise of opinion polling, disinformation about a candidate or issue is planted in the minds of those being 'surveyed'. Push-polls are designed to shape, rather than measure, public opinion." Notably, legitimate pollsters regard push polling as "unethical," at least in its more aggressive manifestations.

Notably, the pollster in the instant case evidently attempted to predicate the line of questioning on the assumption that the Mt. Ogden Golf Course in fact actually suffers a $250,000 annual deficit. Encouragingly, our alert reader didn't take the bait.

Ogden Voters are of course no strangers to political telemarketing abuse. As our readers will remember, the Godfrey administration was accused of using this same deceptive telemarketing technique in 2006, when gondolas were the "hot" item on the "visionary" Godfrey agenda. Are we seeing a re-run of this unethical tactic yet again?

Our readers will of course also recall another abuse of the infernal telephone autodialer in October of 2007, at the tail end of the 2007 mayoral election runup. Who can forget the completely bogus Jon Huntsman endorsement, which Boss Godfrey ultimately "pulled" at the then-Utah governor's "request?"

Perhaps might be helpful to get more reader input on this. Are there other WCF readers who've been contacted regarding this purported poll? Can a few of our gentle readers fill in the nature of some of the other "survey" questions, such as those involving re-zoning issues? Can anyone provide more information on this issue at all?

We believe that Ms. McShane presents a fine topic for discussion on this otherwise slow-news Saturday morning; and we'll therefore offer her a hearty Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat, for bringing this issue to the forefront.

Who will be the first to comment?


althepal said...

LOL! Godfreyite sock puppets know every dirty political trick in the book, inamuch as their puppetmaster, Lord Godfrey, wrote the very same book.

Curmudgeon said...

Only campaign call I've had so far was from Mr. Phipps, and it was pretty standard stuff. Nothing to complain about. He told me who is was, that he was running for Council, and asked me what issues I thought were important in the campaign. I did, and asked if he had a website. He said it was in the works, should be up in a few days, gave me the address, and I said I'd look on it for his stands on the issues I cared about. He thanked me and the call ended.

PS: At the Ogden Farmers Market today, I noticed Mr. Phipps has finally corrected his banner hanging on the ripped up facade of the old Star Noodle building. It now lists him running for the seat he's actually running for. Does he really want to suggest he's backed by the people who gave us upper Historic 25th Street's long running shabby eyesore? If I were a candidate, I wouldn't.

PPS [non political]: Noticed at the market today two new things. One, somebody selling T-shirts saying "Every hour every day for an hour drink Ogden's finest Becker Beer." [If that's not exact, it's close.] Just black on white lettering. If it'd had a Becker Beer logo, I'd have buught one. But I love the idea. That could not possibly have been a Becker Beer slogan. Could it?

Second: down by Karens, on lower 25th Street, someone at a card table selling Mardi Gras masks! Really. And nicely done ones, too. Which got me wondering: if we're looking for dreary month events to bring people in, how about "Mardi Gras in the Mountains!" Red River, NM [a ski town] does one every year that's been pretty successful, I think. Just a suggestion. [Wouldn't want people to think I was only a naysayer, after all....]

RudiZink said...

Yeah, Curm! it's an old Becker Beer slogan. And additionally it's painted along the top of Bruce Edwards' building on 25th street. Here's the text from an SLTrib story which has now vanished from the Trib site:

Utah Man beats city hall. after 10 years : "It could be seen as a battle over a sign. But perhaps more accurately, it's the story of one man's decade-long war with City Hall. And, it's been a beauty. Last week, Ogden's Landmarks Commission approved Bruce Edwards' proposal to restore a sign on his historic C.C. Keller Building on 25th Street -- a full 10 years after his original request. "I outlasted 'em," Edwards chortled Thursday. "And the bottom line is, I was right." The original wording, dating back to about 1910 and painted on the north side of the two-story brick structure, is still barely visible: "Every hour upon the hour for about an hour Drink Becker's Beer -- Ogden's Famous Beer." But in 1998, the Landmarks Commission -- whose membership has now changed -- gave the sign restoration a big thumbs down. "One of the members said, 'We can't have beer on that sign; we want 25th Street to be family oriented," Edwards recalled. Snubbed by the city, Edwards in 2000 put up a large sign in the window of his then-vacant building, saying, "Why would anybody do business in Ogden? It's the dope capital of Utah." "Dope" didn't refer to illicit drugs, Edwards explained. It was his description of the folks at City Hall. That council responded with an ordinance forbidding such signs. Edwards called the American Civil Liberties Union and the feud moved to court where, in 2005, 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin ruled in favor of Edwards, saying Ogden had usurped his First Amendment rights.. But after the court ruling, the Landmark Commission again denied Edwards' restoration request. It was back to court again. This time Edwards lost on a technicality: He had waited too long from the commission's 2000 denial. So, in 2008, he applied again. A new Landmarks Commission said OK."

Curmudgeon said...


Thanks. Hell of a slogan. If I'd know it was Becker Beer's historic slogan, I'd have bought one then and there. I'll see if the guy is out there next week. Though the logo would make it nicer to have.

Mr. Becker certainly had his finger firmly on the pulse of Two Bit Street, didn't he?

Philip Zimbardo said...

Smear tactics are considered by many to be low and disingenuous ; they are nevertheless very common.

Jefferson himself is said to have used pamphlets filled with incriminating or embarrassing information about his political opponents.

Note to enterprising young political science students: there is money in setting up a phone room, selling your service to success-minded politicians and business men, creating a rhetorical wonder for some low-wage flunkies to read confidently, and cutting checks; usually late checks..

Danny said...

Gee no wonder the stock market has been going up (S&P 500 P/E currently 129!)

Maybe it's because of this.

A decade of no income gains

And now, we have the beginning of a trade war!

Trade War

Yes, in addition to allowing banks and executives to loot the economy thereby keeping your wages stagnant (probably actually went down counting benefit cuts) you can now plan to pay more for tires.

If you need a set, better get 'em soon before the 55% tariff kicks in!

What would jesus say said...

Stuart Reid still pulling the strings and levers behind the curtains.

Anonymous said...

The 40 foot sign and the 70 foot sign on the C.C. Keller aka Rose Rooms, aka El Borracho aka Trends and Traditions building states "Every Hour on the Hour for an Hour Drink Becker's Best Ogden's Famous Beer" which was and still is the philosophy of most of the patrons of Two Bit Street

Curmudgeon said...

comment bumped to front page

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