Q1: The candidates for U.S. Senate are Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican Ron Johnson. If the election were today, who would you vote for?Straightforward question, right? Feingold, the Democrat, is up 49-42, with 9 percent undecided. Later in the survey they do something interesting. They ask several questions somewhat critical of Republicans (Questions 3, 4, and 7, for example, see them on the link above).
Check out the wording here:
Q9: During his years in Congress, Ron Johnson has opposed every effort to raise the federal minimum wage. He has repeatedly voted against increasing it, and has even called for getting rid of the federal minimum wage altogether. Does this make you much more likely, somewhat more likely, somewhat less likely or much less likely to support Ron Johnson?OK, that comes kinda close to a push poll, though to be honest that's hard to do in a statewide poll with any effectiveness. And right after this question, there's this:
Q10: Having heard all the information in this poll, let me ask you again: The candidates for U.S. Senate are Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican Ron Johnson. If the election were today, who would you vote for?So all this loaded info, did it affect the poll results? Barely. In Q10, the results still favored Feingold, this time 52-40, with 8 percent undecided. So 1 percent of respondents shifted their position, probably to Feingold, as did a few Johnson supporters. We'd need access to the raw data, or at least more extensive crosstabs, to see if this is truly the case.
Let me be clear that private polling for the candidates will often do this kind of thing, sometimes to test approaches in the campaign. Will this issue move voters? This one? How about this one? You don't see it that often in public polling -- which is why I bring it up.