FracesCONi uses UGLY tactics
I saw this commentary on FracesCONi alleged ugly tactics against Tom Potter. Sounds like the city councilman is getting nervous of the Tom's grassroot campaign by spreading false rumors about Potter.
And one last note, if Posey does not make it into the runoff election, PLEASE URGE HIM TO ENDORSE ANYONE BUT FRANCESCONI. Recently, James Posey appears to be throwing his support to FrancesCONi. Please tell him to support Busse, Potter, Spagg, etc.
When shove comes to push in mayor's race
by Steve Duin
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
He was watching "Survivor" Thursday night when the phone rang. Marc Abrams recognized the voice: "One of those $8- or $9-an-hour women who barely knows what she's reading."
Political junkie that he is, Abrams quickly realized, however, what he was listening to: a push poll. "The worst I've ever heard," he said.
How bad was it? The caller suggested the death of Nathan Thomas might be a reason not to vote for Tom Potter in Portland's mayoral primary.
A former chairman of the Democratic Party of Oregon and an alumnus of the Portland School Board, Abrams understands the science and ethics of polling.
Many of the dinnertime calls are meant to collect information. Supporters of a candidate or a ballot measure want to know which way you're leaning and how strong your leanings are. Four hundred voters is a reasonable sampling to draw conclusions.
"Push polls" are much more Machiavellian. They're less interested in gauging opinions than shaping them. They want to disseminate information, if only to discover your hot-button issues. Sometimes the polling firms want to plant ugly seeds in the cynical soil of your political perspective. Other times, they are probing which issues are the perfect starting line for a volley of attack ads.
On push polls, the calls often number in the thousands. They are much more random, which is why it's not surprising that one arrived at the home of a member of Potter's steering committee.
Abrams said the initial questions were innocuous. The caller -- who said she was representing McGuire Research in Denver -- asked Abrams if he had positive or negative feelings about Potter and Jim Francesconi, both of whom are running for mayor, and two City Council candidates, Nick Fish and Sam Adams.
At that point, however, Abrams said, the pollster aimed both barrels at Potter, Portland's chief of police in 1990-93. I'm going to tell you five things, she said, and I want to know if they would make you more likely or less likely to vote for Potter.
Abrams was informed that Potter supports a sales tax. He was told that after taking the job as interim director of the Oregon police academy, Potter promptly took nine weeks off.
Two police disciplinary cases followed, both of which suggested Potter was not particularly aggressive in holding cops accountable. Finally, Abrams said, there was the following, which he said he copied down word for word:
"Tom Potter has said the Nathan Thomas shooting was the worst event in his professional life, but he was on vacation when it happened and didn't return for nine days."
On the off chance that anyone in this town has forgotten Nathan Thomas, the 12-year-old boy was killed in 1992 after a suicidal intruder broke into his Laurelhurst home and held a knife to his throat: Convinced the intruder, Bryan French, was about to kill Nathan, the Portland cops opened fire, killing both French and the boy.
In 2002, Potter called the shooting "one of those defining moments for the bureau. In police terms, it was kind of like our September 11."
He was vacationing in Mexico when the shooting occurred, Potter said Monday. His staff elected not to tell him of the shooting. As soon as he heard about Nathan's death, in a phone call to his mother, Potter said he rushed home.
He is stunned, Potter said, that Nathan has become a pawn in the 2004 mayor's race: "It infuriates me."
Mike McGuire of McGuire Research said he has four ongoing projects in the area but would say little else.
Lisa Grove, pollster and strategist for Francesconi, the tenuous front-runner in the mayor's race, said she never "push-polls" and won't talk about her clients. But she did add, "There is no way Nathan Thomas is going to be used as an issue in this campaign. I know the things that are going to be communicated to voters, and that's not one of them."
The obvious questions remain:
Who wants to push this hard?
Who wants to win that badly?
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