Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back the Truck up

Just been reading all the breaking news about the RNCC being responsible for the pro-Giffords push poll that was "revealed" during the Weiss press conference. I have read all of the findings online and count me in as less than impressed with the amount of detail provided that led up to the stunning conclusion.

1. The poll took place and it definitely was a push poll.

2. Patty's people backtracked the the calls and found that they originated from Western Wats. I believe that this happened and is true.

3. Everything else after this point is hearsay and conjecture.

It appears that the rest of the footprints are provided by this article. This story is about a push poll in the New York 20th Congressional District where a Republican is attacking a Democratic candidate. This poll was also tracked back to Western Wats. then the following paragraph was included:

A Western Wats worker said the poll was commissioned by The Tarrance Group, a national Republican polling firm that does a lot of work for the National Republican Congressional Committee. She would not reveal on whose behalf The Tarrance Group is polling.

So a single (as in one) unidentified (as in nobody that can be followed up with or fact checked) worker (no position identified, it could have been the CEO or vending machine stocker) said that the poll was commissioned by the Tarrance Group. I do not doubt that the Tarrance group works with Western Wats, I wouldn't even be shocked if they do engage in push polling from time to time. However, I am pretty sure that Western Wats does not make a practice of revealing who is behind which poll unless they are given leave to do so by their client. In this case the information could be gathered in a verifiable manner (company records show, or a spokesman, John Doe, from Western Wats verified. . .) However, since this information is clearly not public knowledge a single anonymous source will have to do.

So we have a pretty tenuous thread that holds the Tarrance Group to the Poll in New York. We immediately switch to the RNCC paying the Tarrance Group $391,087 for polling this year (verifiable). Then a DNCC source (not named, not objective, and probably not in a great position to know the exact specifics) says that the RNCC have given the Republican candidate in New York $16,275 for polling. No verification that it was a push poll or otherwise, or that this particular poll or any of his polls was contracted through the Terrance Group.

So is there any verifiable information that Patty has that shows that Western Wats did the push poll on the request of the Tarrance Group other than the fact that they have worked with the Tarrance Group before? If so, it is not laid out on her or Michael Bryan's posts.

The fact is that any push poll is likely to be associated with Western Wats as a push poll takes an entirely different degree of bandwidth than normal polls due to the number and the specifity of those contacted. Western Wats is one of the few providers that could accomplish such a poll in a short amount of time.

But the calculus appears to be:

Push polls are evil
Republicans are evil
Western Wats ran the poll
Republicans have used Western Wats

Ergo. . .

Brilliant move by Patty however, there was no way that she could prove that Gabby did the poll, so she blamed it on Rove which a lot are likely to believe absent of evidence. And an enemy of Rove would seem to merit a good look as a candidate, and short of admitting complicity in the push poll, there is little that Gabby can do to dilute this message.

However, if the proof given so far is all that there is, it is either sloppy or dishonest research, and should in no way constitute definitive proof of Republican involvement.

If there is something I have missed, I would be happy to reassess.


Anonymous said...

Huffman disrespects the President. Calls him Commander and Chief.

x4mr said...

Thank you, Framer. I was hoping you would chime in.

As I've posted "in my neighborhood" I bought this story at first, but started having second thoughts last night. Now I am quite skeptical.

In fact, I think you and I might be in the same place about this poll and what is happening. I got a little beat up for suggesting this "enemy of Rove" notion, but I think it is very plausible.

I spoke with a relatively well connected and reliable republican yesterday and he claimed to know nothing (and suggested other local R's knew nothing) about this poll. The Star article this morning makes the same statement and quotes an NRCC (RNCC?) spokesman by name denying knowledge of the poll.

The huge question for me, and answer may not be available, is how many of these calls were REALLY made.

The bigger the number, the less likely this is some game Weiss is playing.

The possibility she is behind this remains alive for me until more evidence is brought forward.

Anonymous said...

I'm really impressed with Frank Antenori. He was the one who pointed out the "Commander 'and' Chief" inaccuracy during the KUAT televised debate yesterday.

Huffman's latest TV ad contains the same inaccuracy.

AZYouLikeIt said...

x4mr, you've gone off the deep end. Suggesting that Patty is funding a push poll against herself is the craziest conspiracy theory I've come across in years.

Framer is correct in saying that Patty's press release is a combination of facts and conjecture. That's why it says the calls are "apparently" funded by the NRCC.

I have no doubt that local Republican party officials know absolutely nothing about the push poll. It stinks of national interference, and when one is funding dirty political tricks, you don't go around telling everyone about it. You especially don't go around telling the people who are going to benefit from it. Maintaining plausible deniability is key.

If you're waiting for a verified paper trail or a signed note from the NRCC, it's not going to happen -- because the push poll is an illegal campaign contribution. Did you really expect the NRCC was going to publicly admit to interfering with a Democratic primary!?

Given all that, conjecture is all we have. Patty and Michael Bryan from Blog for AZ have both laid out the (rather numerous) dots on their Kos diaries. Whether you choose to connect those dots is up to you.

I would like to know: If the push poll isn't being funded by Republicans, who do you think is paying for it?

x4mr said...


To assert Patty would pay to call thousands of people with this push poll is indeed off the deep end, and I agree with you.

We don't know thousands were called.

The scenario that still remains plausible is polling a small but sufficient number to produce a story whose payoff well exceeds its cost. This story, played well, serves Patty.

This probably will turn out to be the RNCC or something like it, but Framer's remarks are sound.

We may go into 9/12 still not clear about what really occurred.

Framer said...


For the record, I do not believe that Patty staged the poll.

And when you say "connect the dots" you mean connect the DOT. Facts and conjecture means A FACT and oodles of conjecture.

The poll was done by Western Wats (presumably). Do you have any idea how large of an operation they are. At any one time they could have several dozens of surveys being carried out. During the political season, possibly in the hundreds or more. By the logic displayed any one of the people that have used Western Wats for a survey could be a suspect.

Western Wats does polls for Democrats as well, as well as businesses and charities.

An emotional and entertaining case can be for the historical accuracy of the Divinci Code as well. But it is certainly not truth, no matter how many people wish to believe it.

duke the dog said...

Holy cow! Huffman didn't know the proper title of the POTUS is Commander in Chief!

I saw Antenori on KUAT mention he knew the the proper military title of the POTUS was Commander and Chief and I wondered what the heck is he talking about. No that I read this thread it all comes together.

Now I know for sure I don't want Huffman as my Congressman, but I have yet to figure out who to vote for. Graf and Antenori seem to be the best at these forums.

They both did a great job in Oro Valley and it looked like they both did well again last night.

Anonymous said...

Hey Duke

Frank DID call out the error. He was the only one of the five candidates who noticed the error. He said

"I may not have served eight years in the legislature but I do know that the correct military title of the President of the United States is 'Commander in chief' not 'Commander and chief'"

Anonymous said...

Huffman must have been thinking about when he was in the Navy.

wearetribal said...

Thing about this push poll is that the real target is Giffords. They hoped it would smear her reputation. One of the first people called is someone who has been in press articles touring with Weiss? Then all sorts of bloggers....this seems to be a select list of known Weiss supporters who were called. Any reports from some unknown uninvolved voter who was called? Not that I have heard of.

I see that the Weiss camp is trying to spin this to mean that she must be ahead. A quick read through the blogs and news reports shows that Giffords was the one taking the hit.

AZYouLikeIt said...

A push poll that praises Gabby Giffords is actually supposed to hurt her?!

I'm simply astounded at the lengths the Gabsquad will go to twist a story around.

Up is down, down is up, a push poll that trashes Patty and praises Gabby is really about trashing Gabby and helping Patty.

Just brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone thought about the possibility that it is Raul Grijalva (who is supporting Gabby)or at least one of his union connections?

They certainly would have the money, connections and motivation.

AZYouLikeIt said...

Anything is possible, but a Grijalva conspiracy seems a whole lot less likely than the NRCC's involvement, given the documented connections between the NRCC, Tarrance Group, and Western Wats, which has already conducted 3 push polls against Democrats this month.

If anyone can come up with a money trail tying a Democrat to recent Western Wats polling, I'd love to see it.

x4mr said...

If this turns out to be democrats seeking to help Giffords, they are idiots. In fact, I've dismissed this scenario.

I am left with this either being the Weiss campaign having called a handful of people, enough to produce the story (this is a stretch and political suicide if she is caught), or, more likely, a republican backed effort to obtain some information, stir up trouble in D land, and weaken both ladies. That also seems nuts, frankly.

Questions that haunt me:

1. How many people were called?
2. When did calling start?
3. When did calling stop?
4. Why did it stop?

I don't like ANY scenario.

bob said...


hate to bust your bubble but there are plenty of Domocratic ties to Western Wats. Western Wats is a huge operation. But just because they work w/ Western Wats, it doesn't mean that they actually commissioned THIS push poll. Same with Republicans. We don't even know if this was commissioned by the Tarrance Group since all we have is a weak, unnamed source.

The fact is that conspiracy theories are fun and all, but in our country everyone is INNOCENT until proven guilty. Like Framer said, we have one or two facts and WHOLE LOT of conjecture. Cases just aren't proven that way. There isn't enough fact out there for us to blame anyone.

I like x4mr's approach: express our disappointment that ANYONE would do something like this on either side of the aisle. Let's let them know that we aren't gullible voters who can just be manipulated to think the way they want us to think. Politics has gotten so dirty lately because we as a people have LET the big money on both sides of the aisle buy our votes through this kind of manipulation.

I like a lot of what I'm reading on some of these blogs, however, because it seems like more people are getting involved and becoming more informed so that the smear campaigns and dirty tactics won't be quite as effective as in the past. It's encouraging. Thanks for your comments people!

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