NEWS5 March 2012

Opponents of New Hampshire push poll law find political ally

Government North America

US— Opponents of a New Hampshire law that puts pollsters at risk of massive fines for asking questions about an election candidate’s “character, status, or political stance or record” have found a new ally – Representative David Bates.

The Marketing Research Association (MRA) reports that Bates contacted the organisation over the weekend “seeking our assistance in fixing his state’s misguided ‘push poll’ law”.

Push polls are campaign tactics masquerading as survey research and are designed to smear candidates by drawing attention to negative information about them.

New Hampshire’s law sought to bring this practice out into the open by requiring any person who engages in push-polling to disclose the sponsor of the call, but the MRA and the American Association of Political Consultants have long argued that the law is written so broad as to present a threat to legitimate survey research firms which don’t disclose their sponsors for fear of biasing effects.

Representative Bates is chairman of the New Hampshire House Election Committee. The MRA says that he “aims to amend the law to protect research”.