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February 17, 2006

SurveyUSA Copycat?

A quick post on an odd news item on automated pollster Survey USA (via alert reader LS).  The Glens Falls NY Post-Star reported a week ago that SurveyUSA is offering a $1000 reward for a tape recording of an automated survey purportedly conducted by a copy-cat pollster: 

[SurveyUSA president and CEO Jay] Leve said he believes another company impersonating his firm may have conducted the two-question poll, which asked about views on President Bush's policy in wiretapping and then asked if the recipient of the call supported U.S. Rep. John Sweeney's bid for re-election.

The campaigns of Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, and Kirsten Gillibrand, his potential Democratic opponent, both have disclaimed the poll...

Several people who received the calls, including Clifton Park Republican Chairman Mike Lisuzzo, said the prerecorded message in last week's poll did not identify the caller or who was conducting the poll.

Karen Feldman of Hudson, a Gillibrand supporter, said she thought the message mentioned "USA something."

MP quickly discovered that Republican pollsters McLaughlin and Associates list John Sweeney as a client on their web site.  If Gillibrand has a pollster, MP cannot find any information about it online.  However readers should be cautious about jumping to conclusions.  Any number of groups (including the political party organizations and any number of "independent" interest groups) might want to conduct such a survey. 

In related news, SurveyUSA yesterday released the latest wave of results from their 50-state tracking polls.  Their overall weighted job performance rating for President Bush is 40% approve, 57% disapprove, representing a one point decline since January (41% approve, 56% disapprove).

Update:  The Albany Times-Union also reported on the story on Friday, adding this bit of detail:

Recipients said there were only two questions posed in the "robo-poll."

The first asked if the responder supported the Bush administration's domestic surveillance/wiretapping tactics. The second noted that Sweeney supports the President on this issue, and then asked whether the responder would vote to re-elect the congressman this fall.

Related Entries - Polls in the News

Posted by Mark Blumenthal on February 17, 2006 at 11:23 AM in Polls in the News | Permalink


Gordon Fisher, the former Democratic State Chair of Iowa, posted about receiving a similar two question poll regarding Representative Leonard Boswell of Iowa. You can read about it here:


It's recorded, it's two questions, and it asks basically the same ones. Sounds like it might not be limited to NY. This cuts across party lines apparently, too.

Posted by: Drew Miller | Feb 17, 2006 4:27:20 PM

Thank you Drew. For some reason, the permalink you posted above does not work, but those interested can access Gordon Fisher's post on his main page:

Look for the items with the headlines "Is Senator Lamberti Push Polling?" and "Poll is Dirty Pool."

I would like ot get in touch with Gordon Fisher, so if anyone has his email address please click the link for my name below and forward to me.

Posted by: Mark Blumenthal | Feb 19, 2006 10:58:20 PM

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