Ehrlich opinion firm denies using `push poll' tactics

October 14, 2006|By Doug Donovan

A partner at the polling firm for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s re-election campaign said yesterday that his company has not conducted any phone surveys disguised as polls to spread negative information about Mayor Martin O'Malley.

Glen Bolger, a partner at the Virginia office of Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, said his company has never used the tactic known as "push polling." Push polls are phone calls that appear to be standard polls but which ask questions slanted against a candidate.

The Sun reported yesterday that O'Malley's Democratic campaign has accused the Republican incumbent's camp of push polling.

The company had listed "push polls" on its Web site under its research methodologies link. The entry was unclear about whether the company employed the tactic that it describes on the site as "advocacy calls under the guise of research."

"Public Opinion Strategies does NOT engage in push polling," the Web site now reads.

"We've already changed [the Web site] in recognition that it lacked clarity," Bolger said.

A spokeswoman has said that the Ehrlich campaign was using a "variety of strategies" to highlight differences with O'Malley. "Would we refer to it as push polling? No," said spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver.

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