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The Truth About Political Polls

PRESS STATEMENT
Monday 12 September 2005

For Immediate Release

The Truth About Political Polls

Manukau City Councillor Su'a William Sio, and Labour Party list candidate, is issuing a warning to voters about the deceptive use of polling results and questions whether some polls are genuine polls.

"What I'm seeing in some of these mainstream polls does not reflect the huge support Labour and Helen Clark is getting around Manukau. This is the largest Maori and Pacific Island population in the country and our people are strong Labour supporters, through and through. Yet, some of these polls aren't giving the true picture."

"Whoever is behind these so-called polls are attempting to manipulate public opinion. You just have to look at the recent dirty tricks played with the United Brethren and others. It was based on false and misleading information."

Su'a questions whether recent polls are, in fact, Push Polling, a political telemarketing technique that was known to be used in the USA election campaigns. "Those sorts of polling calls are not genuine polls aimed at researching voter preferences. Their primary goal is to get your vote through lies," says Su'a.

"The worse aspect is that they damage the reputation of a candidate with falsehoods. The caller feeds false information to the potential voter without revealing any source. That has to be damaging and unethical to the electoral process as a whole. "

The real intent is to "push" the voters away from a candidate and the party.

Here's how pushing polling has worked in the USA during political campaigns and may well be used here. The most well-known example of alleged use of push polls was in the 2000 United States Republican Party primaries.
George W. Bush's campaign was alleged to have used push polling to demolish Senator
John McCain's campaign.

In that campaign, voters in South Carolina reportedly were asked "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?", an allegation that had no substance, but planted the idea of undisclosed allegations in the minds of thousands of voters. McCain and his wife had, in fact, adopted a Bangladeshi girl.

"I am encouraging everyone in Manukau City to show commonsense in your voting choices. Don't risk throwing away all that the Labour-led government has done for our communities and the next generation.

Tax cuts always come at a cost to services and to quality of life for all New Zealanders.

ENDS

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