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Push Polls

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Edited by: Published: 2008
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A push poll is a form of negative persuasion telephone calling during a political campaign that is meant to simulate a poll but is really intended to convince voters to switch candidates or to dissuade them from going to the polls to vote. To an unskilled recipient of such a call, it sounds like a traditional telephone survey at the start, but the tone and content of the questioning soon changes to the provision of negative information about one of the candidates. A distinguishing characteristic of a push poll is that often none of the "data" are analyzed; the purpose of the call is to "move" voters away from a preferred candidate. Push polling is so antithetical to legitimate polling that in 1996 the American ...

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