Pollster to challenge New Hampshire subpoena


A veteran Oregon pollster said Wednesday he will go to New Hampshire to challenge a grand jury subpoena over a presidential primary poll called into question by Republican candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Bob Moore said the November poll was conducted according to industry standards and the New Hampshire attorney general was provided with full details about the survey.

His attorney, Terrence Kay, called the New Hampshire investigation "baseless" and said he objected to the subpoena but agreed to make the challenge in New Hampshire instead of Oregon simply as a matter of legal procedure.

"It is unfair and disturbing that the New Hampshire attorney general's office is more interested in playing politics than in objectively reviewing the merits of the case, " Kay said.

He also accused New Hampshire officials of improperly disclosing confidential information and mischaracterizing legitimate survey research.

The survey &

obtained by KGW-TV in Portland &

contained questions critical of Romney's Mormon faith along with questions that appeared favorable to McCain, noting he is a war hero who survived six years in a Vietnamese prison camp.

In a question about Romney, the survey asked, "would you agree or disagree with those who say the Mormon Church is a cult religion?"

A question about McCain asked whether respondents agreed with the statement, "If McCain had been president we may have already won the war in Iraq."

New Hampshire law says that, under certain conditions, poll questions about an opposing candidate "which state, imply or convey information about the candidate's character, status or political stance or record" amount to "push polling," a negative campaign technique.

The push polling law, however, does not apply to the presidential primary in New Hampshire.

The key, according to the New Hampshire attorney general's office, is whether it was limited to the primary or whether it could affect the general election in November.

James Kennedy, the New Hampshire assistant attorney general handling the case, declined to provide any details on Wednesday after a brief hearing on the subpoena request before Multnomah County Presiding Judge Jean Kerr Maurer in Portland.

But Kennedy told The Associated Press earlier this month the case can be resolved quickly by showing it was focused on the primary.

"It's very simple as far as we're concerned &

just providing some documentary evidence that demonstrates without any question that it's geared to the presidential primary and this thing's over," Kennedy said.

Moore released a statement on Wednesday repeating that his firm, Moore Information Inc., "has never, currently does not nor will ever engage in push polling."

He also said no questions were asked about the general election.

Moore noted his survey was conducted according to accepted industry methodology, including random sampling techniques and analysis, and included a total of 46 questions.

The American Association for Public Opinion Research defines push polling "as an insidious form of negative campaigning, disguised as a political poll."

Unlike legitimate polls, the association notes that push polls are designed to reach thousands of potential voters by telephone using only a few suggestive questions without analyzing their responses.

Legitimate polls are limited to a small random sample typically numbering between 400 and 1,000 voters with an extensive list of questions subject to careful and detailed analysis.

"A public opinion survey among a representative sample of 400 Republican primary voters using 46 questions is not a push poll," Moore said in his statement.

He added: "When you also consider that New Hampshire has no statutes governing presidential primary polling, it is clear that there is no merit whatsoever to the current inquiries."

Kennedy said Wednesday he expected the grand jury to hold a hearing on Feb. — in New Hampshire.


On the Net:

American Association for Public Opinion Research: http:www.aapor.org

Excerpts of poll questions: http:www.kgw.com

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