Push polls are a common occurrence in campaign season. They are designed to leave voters with a more positive or negative reaction to topics and/or individuals after answering questions. Political consultant Rich Robinson recently wrote a column on San Jose Inside about his distate for leading questions in push polls, which are often asked without proper context, he argued.
Kathleen King, executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, does not share this opinion about push polls.
In an email King sent Dec. 6, 2011, to labor organizer and now-county supervisor candiate Cindy Chavez, Working Partnerships USA policy director Bob Brownstein, political consultant Ed McGovern and South Bay Labor Council/WPUSA lead organizer Anna Schlotz, the Health Foundation director worries that polling for the 2012 Measure A effort had “very few questions to move someone positively or negatively.” Having watched the Measure A effort fail in 2010, there was clearly some anxiety over another potential defeat—the Health Foundation threw away $215,000 on the 2010 campaign.
King continues in her email: “We only have enough funding for one poll and my worry is this poll will not give us enough support for another initiative/not give us enough data to sell the supervisors or both.”
Measure A ended up passing in November with 56.6 percent of the vote. Learning from the failed 2010 initiative, which was based around property taxes and required ⅔ approval, the more recent Measure A was a ⅛ county sales tax that only required majority approval. All of the county supervisors, with the exception of Mike Wasserman, supported the half-billion dollar sales tax measure.