Congressman Charlie Dent

The Mystery Poll

I previously posted about an extensive phone poll I had received that focused on the race for the Lehigh Valley’s 15th Congressional District between Charlie Dent and John Callahan. I summarized, incorrectly as it turns out, that the poll was most likely conducted by the Dent campaign or the RCCC.

I’ve received both official confirmation from the Dent campaign’s manager, Shawn Millan, and unofficial confirmation from a source close to the campaign, that it was NOT a Dent poll nor was it paid for by the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. Millan believes it was a Democratic poll, although that is an opinion only. The unofficial source, a professional political operative, agreed with Millan, sighting  the extensive questions about union membership.

My theory was that the union questions were the R’s looking for any weakness in union support that they could leverage. The operative thinks it’s the exact opposite: The Dems are worried that the unions are so mad over the healthcare bill that they’ll run to the Republican side of the ballot. The poll is meant to reassure the “D” hierarchy that that’s not true, or motivate them to start shoring up that part of the base.

Blogger’s Note: I would have posted this information two days ago, but someone tried to hack in to the blog rendering it unusable for 48 hours.

Press 1 If You’re Ready For Politics 2010

telephone ringing There are certain markers in politics. Across the country, fall elections begin in earnest after Labor Day; in Pennsylvania, where our spring Primaries usually don’t happen till May, this year it’s May 18, everyone gets serious right after Easter. So it wasn’t surprising to pick up my phone and hear an automated message telling me they weren’t selling anything, that my political opinions were very important, and I should press 1 if I was willing to take a survey.

The questions focused mostly on the 15th Congressional race between Charlie Dent and John Callahan. On a sliding scale, how favorable was my opinion of each candidate. Was I definitely going to vote for one over the other or was I only “likely” to vote for one of them. And did I feel aligned with how Dent voted on the issues.

There were some “coattail” questions, too, from the Statehouse to the White House. Was I likely to vote for Corbett or Onorato for Governor, and what kind of job did I think President Obama was doing, including rating my opinion about healthcare. I answered very calmly and professionally, relieved that they didn’t get my husband on the phone instead of me.

When it came time for the stats, I was surprised at two things, how much emphasis there was on race: I must have been asked three different ways if I was Caucasian or Hispanic. And another three questions about labor unions, from was I a member, was a spouse or next of kin a member, down to “Is anyone living in your household a member?”.

There was no mention of Dent’s Tea Party Primary opponent, so it appears he’s been dismissed as not even a factor. And from the emphasis on unions, it looks like siphoning off their members, who have made no secret of their anger over the healtchare bill, away from the Democrats, may be a new strategy for this mid-term election. 

The poll was so well done that I can’t be exactly sure who paid for it. If I had to bet, I’d say the Dent campaign or the National Republican Congressional Committee. I called Dent’s headquarters for comment, but my call was never returned. I guess they don’t know about political markers…Easter is over, Press 1 to talk to your constituents.

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