A "Push Poll" is not a Legitimate Poll A so-called "push poll" is an insidious form of negative campaigning, disguised as a political poll. "Push polls" are not surveys at all, but rather unethical political telemarketing -- telephone calls disguised as research that aim to persuade large numbers of voters and affect election outcomes, rather than measure opinions. This misuse of the survey method exploits the trust people have in research organizations and violates the AAPOR Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. Identifying Advocacy Calls Made Under the Guise of Research Political telemarketing calls, when disguised as research, may sometimes be difficult to differentiate from a legitimate survey. Here are characteristics that will usually indicate to a respondent that the call is not a legitimate survey.
* One or only a few questions are asked, all about a single candidate or a single issue. * The questions are uniformly strongly negative (or sometimes uniformly positive) descriptions of the candidate or issue. * The organization conducting the calls is not named, or a phony name is used. * Evasive answers are given in response to requests for more information about the survey. In addition, the following characteristics will indicate to journalists, reporters, and survey professionals that a telephone call is not a legitimate survey. * The number of people called is very large, sometimes many thousands. * The calls are not based on a random sample. * It is difficult to find out which organization conducted the interviews.