I have largely avoided comment because I agree with Phil’s take and have had no additional facts to add to this story. I did get some general background from Charlie Cook, a real honest to goodness pollster, who I think provides some perspective on terminology and what is at issue: He explains:
” First, there is no such thing as a push poll. There are polls that test weaknesses of the client/candidate or the weaknesses of opponents, and there are negative phone banks that spew venom, but something is either a poll or it is not. One is designed to gather information, the other is designed to disseminate (negative) information. That’s why, as someone who is a former pollster and works closely with polling, I never use that term and hate it when others does. It just perpetuates the confusion.
Second, for at least a quarter century, pollsters have tested not just the potential vulnerabilities of their opponents but also of their clients. Those pollsters are known as competent pollsters. Anybody that doesn’t test their own candidate’s potential problems, or testing which arguments work better than others, isn’t competent.
The question is whether they called a sample (say 1,000 or less) voters in a state, or was it more of a mass call, and did they ask at least a few demographic questions, so that the results could be analyzed [and] how much argument or information did or did not move various types of voters. If there are no demographic questions, it almost certainly isn’t a poll.”
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