Did Clark endorse push-polling?

Written By: - Date published: 3:59 pm, July 3rd, 2008 - 18 comments
Categories: helen clark, polls - Tags: ,

Some of the more excitable righties on the blogosphere and John Key have taken a throw-away comment in Audrey Young’s blog to mean that Helen Clark said Labour will be doing push-polling. Here’s what was actually said, according to Young’s recording:

Reporter: Will Labour use push-polling with ‘the truth?’
Clark: Well I’m not sure how you can ‘push’ with the truth. You can say to people that your policy is X or that somebody else’s policy is X and ask for an opinion on that. But it is important that what you are saying is someone’s policy actually is the policy. I think it is important to be honest about it.’

So, Clark says polling regarding people’s opinions on the real policies of parties is legitimate (note, not Labour will do it). Is that endorsing push-polling?

Push polling is ‘a form of telemarketing-based propaganda and rumor mongering, masquerading as a poll’. Famous examples include the Bush push-poll against McCain in 2000 “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for President if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?” and the Crosby/Textor push poll against Sue Robinson ‘Would you be more or less likely to vote for Robinson if they knew she had publicly supported abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy’. Both the questions did not relate to actual facts but were designed to instil belief those facts were real in the minds of voters.

The essence of push-polling is dishonesty. Clark is saying  polling to establish public views of real policies is legitimate, there’s no dishonesty there and so no push-polling.

18 comments on “Did Clark endorse push-polling?”

  1. Peter Nelson 1

    [lprent: deleted and banned. Can’t be bothered arguing with a idiotic troll that is too stupid to learn]

  2. Honestly, is that the best reponse you can come up with to a properly argued post? No counter-argument, no ‘your logic is flawed’, just homophobia? Where’s the intelligent debate? Why always so keen to jump on the slogan bandwagons without researching first? Why always so ready to parade around as a bigot?

    [lprent: It was interesting. Reminded me of the trolls of yesteryear (the far distant days of 2007). He’d been warned by both myself and Irish in previous months. So he can have a permanent ban. Obviously incapable of learning.]

  3. Billy 4

    Bye, Rob.

  4. Dissent will not be tolerated

    [lprent: Dissent is tolerated, and indeed encouraged. Pathetic idiots who don’t have the nounce to say anything intelligible are not. They just make it irritating for everyone else.
    You have actually been doing pretty well – why stop now?]

  5. Condone/condemn... who cares? 6

    Dumb tories never let the facts get in the way of a good story…Say something loud and often enough and people will swallow it… it does seem to work for them….

  6. higherstandard 7

    C/C

    Are you suggesting this tactic isn’t commonly employed by all sides ?

    or to quote you on the different tack

    “Dumb socialists never let the facts get in the way of a good story Say something loud and often enough and people will swallow it…

    I think tis the nature of politics.

  7. Lampie 8

    basically leading questions then, hmmmm bet most do it anyway

  8. Lampie 9

    research companies i’m talking about

  9. insider 10

    Just a matter of fact, Crosby Textor did not exist as an organisation until 2002. The push poll you refer to was done by Textor and another guy in 1995, who were sued. Crosby wasn’t involved AFAIK.

    Any evidence they have done such polls in the 13 years since?

  10. Weather Eye Of The North 11

    Helen signals that she’s going hard. Good on her !

    How I’d hate to be Key in the hours leading up to the first live Leaders’ Debate. Tight legfit, rubber undies I’d guess.

    How can this man possibly ever be PM ?

  11. Oliver 12

    The problem with Clark’s position on thia is that she and Labour are not always honest when they talk about National.

    They can’t tell the diference between something that’s open to competition like NZ Post and something that’s been privatised like Telecom.

    Helen likes to tell everyone that Key personally profited from the sale of Tranzrail when he didn’t.

    Trevor likes to tell Pokies about Public Servants in the House.

    Cullen refused to withdraw comments about Chch property developers after they turned out to be incorrect.

    Lianne Dalziel likes to breach immigrants privacy.

    Annette King promised to give a months notice before increasing the Road User Charge and then only gave a days notice.

    Margaret Wilson promised not to abolish the right to appeal to the Privy Council unless there was broad support from Maoridom and business but then did it anyway?

    Helen claimed that the Parliamentary Service okayed the pledge card expenditure and then it turned out that Heather Simpson had actually told Parliamentary Services that it they had to pay the money because she had okayed the expenditure.

    Mike Williams told parliamentary services that Labour would count the pledge card expenditure against Labours election return and then didn’t do any such thing.

    Trevor Mallard told people that National had a mega-wealthy American paying for the last election and then it turned out that he was telling porkies and that the American in question had actually donated to Labour.

    If those are the things that I can remember without having to research then no doubt there a whole lot more. If Labour went out and polled with these things that I’ve just mentioned would that count as “honest push-polling” or the sort of “anti-democratic dirty tricks” that you at the Standard dislike so much?

  12. Draco TB 13

    Annette King promised to give a months notice before increasing the Road User Charge…

    No, She didn’t. She said she would introduce legislation that would allow for a months notice. This legislation hasn’t gone through yet.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/multimedia/video.cfm?c_id=1&gal_objectid=10519742&gallery_id=1383

  13. Monty 14

    Clark is refusing to rule out push polling – Key has ruled it out. Clark as you will be well aware is a very astute politician – she is the master at keeiong a distance between herself and the coal face of a scandal. So when Labour does undertake its push polls (and lets face it there is bugger all left that they can do when being out polled nearly 2:1) she will have plausable deniability. Won’t help though – she is Labour and Labour is her – destroy one and the other will also be destroyed (both happening in a town near you on 18 October 2008)

  14. Blar 15

    Insider makes a good point Steve – you should tell the truth. Crosby | Textor wasn’t around in 1995 – the incident you refer to was settled by Mark Textor himself without an admission of liability.

    This is sort of off topic but I think the ABC’s Anthony Green was spot on on Morning Report yesterday.

    “I think sometimes it’s easy to paint them as being devils when they’re actually doing no more than doing what everyone else does in spin-doctoring but just happen to be doing it a lot better and doing it for the right of politics,

    “What has occured in Australia is the Labor party has tended to accuse everything Crosby | Textor does of being push polling when push polling itself as a term is quite specific in its meaning,

    “Crosby | Textor have used [inaudible] in 2001 fear of boat people and things but in many ways, who is there to say that isn’t a legitimate fear of the electorate? And, it’s often a tactic of people who, on the left of politics, to accuse anyone who raises those issues of being racist as a way of shutting them up.

    Hmm. Very interesting comments from someone who is often accused of being left-leaning.

  15. Oliver 16

    Draco TB,

    I recalled 11 items off the top of my head in under 5 minutes before shooting out to do a message. I’m sure that if I were to sit down and spend a couple of hours researching I could come up with a whole bunch more. You have placed a bit of doubt around 1 of those items but that still leaves 10 gapping holes in Helen’s definition of “honest push-polling and the Standard’s defence of her.

  16. Ari 17

    HS- it’s already done on both sides, of course- I think C/C was more pointing out that Helen’s being misrepresented a bit here by the right-wingers as supporting “push-polling” when that term usually refers to trying to push lies through leading poll questions without having to actually back up the claim. (For instance, if I polled called someone up and asked them if it would influence their vote for Winston Peters if they knew he ate babies) Helen Clark says she doesn’t see the problem so long as nobody’s lying about anyone else’s policies. I think that’s okay- if they’re willing to pay pollsters to advertise other parties’ policies, good for them. Perhaps such polls should count under EFA advertising spending limits, and at the very least leading questions should be counted as slander/libel if they can’t be factually established, but that’s about the worst I have to say on it.

    I would prefer if she didn’t resort to such tactics, but National is pulling worse, so I say fair enough until they clean up their game, stop misdirecting, and release some substantial policy instead of playing “small target”.

    Blar- I don’t think representing people’s comments fairly and pointing out the message it sends is untrue, and that what it says about refugees could be interpretted as racist and hostile, qualifies in any way as “shutting them up”. Rather, it’s trying to shame them. If shutting up is the preferred response to the shame of having your tactics called out as anti-refugee, panic-mongering, and racist, then that’s okay, but some people react to shame by sticking by their principles, because they don’t believe they’re racist, or because they don’t care they’re racist, and I support their right to do that.

    But republishing someone’s remarks under fair use to shame them is NOT suppressing the political dialogue- it’s opening it up. You have a right to do similar things to Helen Clark’s statement, just like the Standard has a right to critique your take on things. 🙂

  17. Craig Ranapia 18

    Well, Steve, I’m sure that there are people out there who are absolutely convinced that it’s “The truth” that John McCain is a wife-beating psycho who committed treason while a POW, and has had more than one illegitimate child with black prostitutes. And a legitimate pulbic policy question because, after all, do you want a abusive taitor with the morals of a guinea pig occupying the White House? You might also have picked up that Barak Obama, in a masterpiece of Orwellian double(or is that triple-)think is not only a flaming red ‘Marxist’, but in thrall to a white-hating fundie Christian cult AND an Islamofascist Manchurian candidate.

    Ms. Clark might also want to contemplate this: the possibility that Ian Wishart absolutely, positively believes in the veracity of a certain tome currently on sale in bookshops everywhere. She may not agree.

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    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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