N.H. GOP upset with poll questions in Senate race

Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 27, 2010, 12:00pm


CONCORD, N.H. (Legal Newsline) - New Hampshire's GOP asked state attorney general Michael Delaney Monday to investigate whether Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Paul Hodes conducted polling aimed at spreading negative information about Republican opponent Kelly Ayotte.

Republican Party spokesman Ryan Williams said the complaint is in regard to phone calls last week that asked what the GOP considered to be questions designed to elicit a negative response.

"It's not surprising that Paul Hodes is behind this illegal push polling operation given his history of disgusting gutter politics," Williams said.

The callers asked whether voters would be more or less likely to vote for Ayotte if they knew she ignored or failed to pursue a now-closed New Hampshire mortgage firm at the center of a Ponzi scheme when she was attorney general.

Hodes has run ads hammering Ayotte for not pursuing the case, according to the AP.

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

Push polling is allowed if the callers identify on whose behalf the call is made and provide a telephone number for the company doing the polling. The penalty for not doing so may subject someone to a fine or up to a year in jail, New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Richard Head told The Associated Press.

Mountain West Research of Pocatello, Idaho, conducted the poll last week for Anzalone-Liszt Research, whose Web site lists Hodes as a client.

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