The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, November 01, 1982, Image 12

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Battalion/Page
November 1,1$
Polling
Polly want
to debate
(continued from page 1)
Candidates also use polls to
determine public preferences
about campaign issues, Hill said.
“This becomes an important
part of campaign strategy,” he
said.
White’s campaign manager,
Jim Francis, said: “You use your
polls initially to devise that
strategy.”
Polls especially are helpful in
showing trends, Dunn said.
, If a marker poll is taken early
in the campaign and is followed
with similar polls over the next
few months, a candidate can get
an idea about the important
issues in the state and gauge
changes in his popularity, Dunn
said.
“The rnost publicly acknow
ledged role of polls is to tell can
didates where they stand —
whether they are ahead or be
hind — what we call the horse
race element of polls,” Hill said.
But Finding the most impor
tant issue affecting voters often
can be difficult — especially in
Texas, Dunn said.
“This state is so big, it has so
many media markets and is so
geographically diverse that it’s
unusual when one issue en
velops the entire state,” he said.
Although polls usually are
used to find out public opinion
on an issue the candidate
already has taken a stand on,
Hill said, candidates sometimes
use polls to decide which stand
to take.
“Sometimes a candidate does
a poll and then he finds out what
he’s interested in,” he said. “He
has no idea what he’s interested
in before that. .
“That’s very controversial
though. One of the kinds of
things that you may see more
criticism of in the future ... is
manipulating the public with the
information they (candidates)
get from the public.”
But few candidates use polls
to formulate their opinions, Hill
said.
“Most people running for a
significant office, by the time
they get to that point, feel that
they know what the important
issues are,” he said.
Experienced politicians think
they can estimate public opinion
— maybe not in the broad sense
that they know what every
group thinks of them, but well
enough to sense what issues are
important to the voters, Hill
said.
won’t keep polling. It’s one
other piece of information and it
also is a way to convince people
that he is serious.”
Polls don’t make the final de
cisions on campaign strategy,
Dunn said.
“Most candidates are not
slaves to polls,” he said, “and
many of them will not do what
their pollsters tell them to do be
cause their own intuitions, their
own gut feeling, is that the poll is
wrong.
“That same person doesn’t
believe in polls so little that he
“We’re dealing with a man
(White) who has been in public
office for several years and who
is going to stick by his princi
ples,” he said. “The final deci
sions are made by him.
“Science hasn’t totally domin
ated politics.”
Tony Garrett, deputy press
secretary for the governor, said
Clements isn’t tied to his polls
either.
“He’s not'going to change his
mind because of the results of a
poll,” he said.
Politicians shouldn’t always
rely on polling results, Luttbeg
said.
“If a politician has developed
the kind of skills for sensing
groundswell issues that comes
with a certain native intelligence
and a certain amount of time in
office, he probably doesn’t need
to use polls,” he said.
“The novice politician who is
unskilled at knowing how to
sense public opinion probably
should poll.”
Polls can help a candidate de
termine his strengths and weak
nesses.
“If you haven’t been in an
A19C CAHEER DEVELOPMENT TPESENfS:
area of the state, it shows up real
quick in a poll,” Dunn said. “It
shows up in name recognition.”
Polling results can help candi
dates decide where in the state to
concentrate media messages
and what medium to use, Hill
said.
If a candidate’s poll shows
he’s weak with one group and
those people are heavy radio lis
teners, he can concentrate his
money on radio advertisements,
Hill said.
“You need to find the unde
cided voters, what their issue
concerns are, what their media
markets are, how you can reach
them and how you can talk to
them,” he said. “And that’s what
a poll can do.”
But if a poll finds a candidate
is weak in the northeast corner
of his district and he concen
trates his efforts there, he may
not win more votes, Luttbeg
said.
“There’s no real evidence
that going to the northeast cor
ner of your district and appear
ing or walking door-to-door
swings a lot of votes,” he said,
“but that’s traditionally what
candidates do.”
Research has shown that con
tact with a candidate will in
crease turnout, but not necessar
ily in his favor, Luttbeg said.
“It’s at least conceivable that
the strategy of going to the
northeast corner of your district
because the polls show you’re
weak there may actually increase
turnout in that area and that
those people will be voting for
your opponent,” he said.
“It’s conceivable that it could
completely backfire.”
Polls also can play an impor
tant part in getting campaign
contributions, Hill said.
“It is very difficult to con
vince someone when you’re
asking for $1000 or $5000 from
them that you’re a serious candi
date if you don’t have a poll to
give them some behind-the-
scenes information,” he said.
For a challenger, a poll can
become his only means of get
ting contributions, Hill said. If a
challenger can show potential
contributors a poll that says the
incumbent is vulnerable and the
challenger has a chance, he is
more likely to get money, he
said.
Dunn agreed: “Big money
people don’t like to throw their
money away. A well-placed poll
can help.”
Without a poll, Hill said,
many potential contributors
won’t look at a candidate twice.
“Contributors have gotten
very sophisticated about what to
ask for in this kind of informa
tion,” he said.
But polls aren’t without their
problems — especially for the
public.
The polling results released
by opposing candidates often
conflict — leaving the public
wondering if the polls can be
trusted at all.
The way the pollster screens
for likely voters probably ex
plains 95 percent of the discre
pancies in polling results during
a campaign, Hill said.
Luttbeg said: “The tradition
al way to get at voters is to ask
some combination of questions.
A lot of variations in results are
directly attributable to how they
(the pollsters) identify voters.”
But Dunn said it’s difficult to
determine why discrepancies
occur because candidates are
unwilling to release information
on their polls.
“The specifics of the polls
aren’t being released,” he said.
“The secret on where the num
bers came from is the sample.
You have to look at how the peo
ple are called.”
And no one seems to know
how the polls affect voters or if
candidates can influence the
election by the release of polling
results.
“I’m not sure that they’re
trying to have an influence when
they selectively release polls,”
Hill said. “I don’t think they are
really trying to influence your
rank-and-file voter as much as
they are trying to ensure that the
campaign contributions keep
coming in.
“But I’m not underestimat
ing the importance in the pub
lic’s mind of who they perceive
to be winning the horse race. I
have found that there is a ten
dency on the part of the public
to like front-runners.”
a candidate:
El
(contii
United Press International
COLLINSVILLE, 111. -II
nois Rep. Melvin Price doesn’i
want to debate his GOP challen
ger, so his aide’s parrot will do
the talking.
Challenger Robert Gaffner.
looking to be elected as Illinois
representative to Congress from
the 21st District, asked Price to
debate. When Price turned him
down, he challenged Price's
aide, Bill Hart.
“I’m not in a position to de
bate him,” Hart said Friday. 1
have a parrot at home that miglu
want to.”
Gaffner took him up on the
offer.
“As I said earlier,” Gaffnet
replied, “in my opinion, Mr
Price has abrogated his role to
Mr. Hart since any response to
our charges has come from Mr
Hart. Now Mr. Hart evidenllv
has abrogated his role to his
parrot.
“If that’s the best thatthecon-
gressman’s office can do, I'd be
happy to debate the parrot.
“The parrot would probably
have more intelligent responses
regarding the serious problems
facing the 21st District than any
thing we’ve heard from Mr
Hart anyway,” Gaffner said.
Hart was not available todis-
Lieutt
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George S
Notre Dai:
the Harvat
Business. 1
j supporter
John Towi
In his i
stressed th
review of tl
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mandatory
repeat off
I sure juries
before the
criminals
| punishnien
victed of c
cated.
Bill Hobt
Hobby, a n
the incumt
present po:
He is a fori
of the state
ber of tlx
Force on Si
Hobby
theme has 1.
cuss arrangements.
A PROGRAM TO INFORM
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ABOUT GRADUATE STUDIES
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ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
14th Court of Appeals
Place 1
“THE PEOPLE’S JUDGE’’
Texas and Local
Bar Associations
-VOTE-
• Past Municipal Judge
• Member—V.F.W.
• Member—Chamber of
Commerce
Bill CANNON
Tues., Nov. 2,1982
- Member—Bethany
Christian Church
» 30 Years Legal Experience
• Asst. City Attorney-
City of Houston
’ Past Master —
Boy Scouts of America
■ Asst, to Judge
Air Force Pilot
DEMOCRAT
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