Who's Behind the Illegal NH Push Polls?

12/18/2007 01:38 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The following piece was produced by HuffPost's OffTheBus.

I got a robo push poll last night with no ID as to who paid for it. This breaks two New Hampshire laws.

I was first asked if I would vote in the GOP primary, whether I considered myself pro-life, and whether I opposed to gay marriage. Next question listed the GOP candidates and asked if I would vote for Mike Huckabee, but no other candidate.

Next question asked whether I would vote for Rudy Giuliani, to which I replied Yes. Next up were the illegal push poll questions: would I would be less likely to vote for Giuliani if I knew that he favored gay marriage, then, if I knew that he had raised taxes as Mayor. The call then terminated without ID.

I've run for state senator and governor and seen this all before. As invariably as gravity, a push poll with pro-life, anti-gay questions originates from the dirty-tricks contractor of a candidate for whom the social conservative vote is critical -- or someone free lancing for that candidate without authorization. This means that the sponsor is not one of the Dems. This also means it's not Giuliani doing it to himself to engender sympathy or to insulate him from charges that he backed a November anti-Romney, seemingly pro-McCain push poll now under criminal investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General.

My hunch is that it's not McCain, given that a very similarly-structured anti-McCain push poll was underway over this past weekend.

Does the pro-Huckabee slant in the December push poll mean that Huckabee is the backer? It's either transparently too obvious and designed to throw us off the scent ... or it's being done by a Huckabee free-lancer. The Huckabee campaign has of course denied involvement.

The AG investigation of the November push poll centers on Western Wats of Orem, Utah, which posts the following non-denial on its website, under the home-page link , "Push Polling Accusations Response."

"Western Wats is a survey research data collection firm which services the opinion survey research and marketing research industries. Western Wats does not design or determine the content of the surveys it operationalizes by telephone or over the Internet, nor does it analyze or use the data for its own purposes. Confidentiality agreements prohibit us from commenting on specific projects and/or clients."

Huffington Post reports that Western Wats has a number of Romney campaign contributors on its payroll and has worked for several prominent Romney backers. Could the anti-Mormon message in the seemingly pro-McCain calls in November have been designed to create sympathy for Romney? Romney is far smarter than to risk this, particularly given the close ties between Western Wats and himself. His campaign has denied involvement.

Western Wats knows who paid for this and the AG will compel them to tell. If it's one of the candidates, he's politically dead and should be. My guess as to the culprit is a Huckabee free-lancer, thinking the Romney connection pins it on Romney, and too stupid to know that this hurts Huckabee.