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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Who's polling the Milwaukee school board elections?

by folkbum

I got an email the other day related to a poll of my district (where I support Terry Falk) saying that there was apparently a poll being done:
They are asking whether you are voting for Falk or [incumbent Joe] Dannecker. They are also asking if you knew that Dannecker supported vouchers whether that would increase or decrease your chances to vote for Dannecker.
There was some speculation about who was doing the poll, and whether it was a group that was supportive of vouchers or not. (I said not; I didn't think that wording, though it may not be verbatim, was the kind of language a pro-voucher group would use.) In any case, we were to be on the lookout and try to find out who was responsible for that poll.

But as it turns out it's not just this district that's getting polled. Alan Borsuk--education reporter for the Miwaukee Journal Sentinel--also got a call:
Sunday afternoon at home. The phone rings.

I’m conducting a survey, the voice says. If the Milwaukee School Board election were held today, who would you vote for, Stephanie Findley or Michael Bonds?

I’m not going to give you an answer, I say.

I’ll put you down as undecided, the voice says. Do you support or oppose the Milwaukee school choice program?

I’m not going answer that, I say. But I have a question for you: Who are you calling on behalf of?

Let me ask my supervisor what I can tell you, the voice says. He comes back on after a few moments and gives a corporate name.

Who’s that? I ask.

A private research company, he says.

And who hired you to do this?

You’ll have to talk to my supervisor.

After a pause, the supervisor comes on. I repeat the question and add that, to my knowledge, under Wisconsin law he has to answer the question of who is behind the calls if the recipient of the call asks.

We’re a private research firm, he says.

But who hired you to do this?

The line goes dead.
This is, of course, a violation of Wisconsin law--any group being paid to survey an election must identify who is paying for that survey.

So this is your mission, folks: If you get the call, ask the same questions Borsuk asked, and try to get a name. You can even tell the "supervisor," if you get him on the line, that refusal to answer the question is a violation of the law, and see if that helps.

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