Friday, November 16, 2007

NH, Iowa Voters Get Anti-Romney Calls

I wonder if it was a special interest group outside the campaigns.

Western Wats, a Utah-based company, placed the calls that initially sound like a poll but then pose questions that cast Romney in a harsh light, according to those who received the calls. In politics, this type of phone surveying is called "push polling"—contacting potential voters and asking questions intended to plant a message in voters' minds, usually negative, rather than gauging peoples' attitudes.

A spokesman for Western Wats said he couldn't comment on the company's work. He said they do not do push polling.

The 20-minute calls started on Sunday in New Hampshire and Iowa. At least seven people in the two early voting states received the calls.

Among the questions was whether a resident knew that Romney was a Mormon, that he received military deferments when he served as a Mormon missionary in France, that his five sons did not serve in the military, that Romney's faith did not accept blacks as bishops into the 1970s and that Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible.

"It started out like all the other calls. ... Then all of the sudden it got very unsettling and very negative," said Anne Baker, an independent voter from Hollis, N.H.