Gray Flannel Dwarf


Letter to the Editor (Loudoun Easterner): Frank Wolf’s questionable push-poll campaign

Last night, I received an automated phone call on my land line, indicating that its purpose was a political poll, and that it would be followed by a short political ad. Having never been contacted by a polling agency before, and seeing as it’s turning out to be one of the most important elections in recent history, I decided to give it a shot.

The system first asked me if I was planning to vote in the upcoming election. I responded with a “Yes”. The next question was, “In the upcoming election, do you plan to vote Republican Frank Wolf for Congress?”

I waited expectantly for a second… but nothing else was said! No mention of James Socas, no mention of an opposing political party – no mention of anyone else whatsoever! With suspicions firmly entrenched, I responded to the question with a resolute “No.”

It is here, however, where the story gets stranger. Upon my response, I was asked whether or not I was aware that my vote could affect Virginia’s efforts to curb terrorism, along with all the other catchphrases that any fear-based campaign might be expected to employ. Neatly phrased, the question didn’t outright state that my apparent vote against Wolf would mean there would be more terror attacks, it wasn’t too far off the mark, suggesting that a vote for anyone else would be an enormous setback.

Perhaps needless to say, I hung up, and did not complete the “poll”.

Since when does rhetoric have any place in a poll? More importantly, however, since when has it been considered ethical or even legal for a campaign to employ such sorts of tactics. There have already been noted incidents around the nation in recent years past, and this year particularly, concerning supposedly unbiased polling groups using “push polling” to implicate candidates in this supposedly unbiased forum. Push polling is illegal in many states, and while it may not yet be outlawed in Virginia, it is certainly anything but ethical. When one further considers Wolf’s lead coming into the 2004 election, it raises questions as to why his campaign felt the need to resort to such scare tactics in the first place.

Until recently, I was fairly ambivalent to Frank Wolf, but responses I have received from Wolf and/or his office over the past few years concerning issues that affect Loudoun and Northern Virginia residents indicate just how out-of-touch he is with the issues here. This most recent event, however, is just another indication of how a career politician stays in a position of power due to the apathy of his or her constituency.

The push poll operated by the Wolf campaign might have tried to sway my vote, and I can state for a certainty that, after hearing of my experience, it has indeed swayed mine, and several others… but not in a direction that Frank Wolf would like.

Corey Welton

cswiii @ 12:37 pm

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