By Bob Katzen
Bill#(H 821) – Would require anyone conducting a “push poll” to identify the candidate or organization for which he or she is working and inform the interviewee that the telephone call is a paid political advertisement.
A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to manipulate or change voters’ views under the guise of conducting an opinion poll. During the call, the “pollster” asks questions related to an opposing candidate for public office which state, imply or convey negative and often untrue information about the candidate’s character, status or political stance or record, with the intent of “pushing” the interviewee toward adopting an unfavorable opinion of the candidate. Anyone violating the law would be fined up to $1,000.
Supporters say that push polls are misleading and should be highly regulated. Sponsor Rep. Jim Murphy (D-Weymouth) did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on why he filed the bill and how he feels about its defeat.