What are "Push Polls" & How Can You ID Them?
A so-called "push poll" is not a real poll, but is a way of putting out negative (or, less frequently, positive), not necessarily true information about a candidate under the guise of polling. Per Poynter, here's how you can identify one:
Often ask only one or very few questions, all about a single candidate or a single issue
Usually ask questions that are strongly negative (or sometimes uniformly positive) describing the candidate or the issue
May not name the organization conducting the calls, or sometimes use a phony name
Do not ask for demographic information
Can give evasive answers when you ask for information about the survey
Usually calls very large numbers of people, sometimes many thousands
Does not use a random sample
Rarely, if ever, report results
What isn't a push poll?
Message testing is often confused with a push poll, but it's legitimate polling done to gauge overall favorability or approval of a candidate's position on specific issues. Here's how you can distinguish message testing from a push poll:
Identifies the name of the pollster
Appropriate sample size (~500 to no more than 1500)
Contains other questions, incIuding demographic identification
Questions are based on true, verifiable information about a person or organization's record