Push me, poll you 

Last week, mayoral candidate Ken Mulvaney sued incumbent Buddy Dyer, charging that phone polling done on behalf of Dyer's re-election campaign had slandered Mulvaney by mentioning his two arrests for domestic violence. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Mulvaney said the calls constituted an illegal "push poll." The Dyer campaign defended the calls but refused to release the list of questions.


(No deviations, please, for any reason)

Consult your master list of likely voters. Go to the top of the list and dial the first number. When the respondent answers, you say:

"Hello, my name is (SAY YOUR NAME HERE). I'm calling on behalf of the campaign to re-elect Mayor Buddy Dyer."

Now pause for a moment, so the respondent can heap praise on the mayor's many accomplishments. When he/she is finished, continue.

"I'd like to ask you a few questions that will help us better understand what you, the voter, are looking for in a mayoral candidate. Can I have a few minutes of your time?"

If the answer is "no," thank the respondent, hang up, and enter his/her name on provided form 114-C ("Enemies List"). If the answer is "yes," proceed.

"What qualities do you think are most desirable in a candidate for mayor?
1) A year's worth of experience in the position;
2) Ten years in the Florida State Senate;
3) A valiant run for attorney general;
4) Seventeen straight wins in 4-H Club weenie-eating contests."

Mark the respondent's choice on your answer sheet and continue.

"What qualities are least desirable?
1) Multiple arrests for domestic violence;
2) Earning income from seedy beer bars;
3) A mysterious support network of foreign-born steelworkers/agitators;
4) Crow's feet."

Mark the respondent's choice and continue.

"How important is it for Orlando to have a downtown performing-arts center?
1) Very important;
2) Extremely important;
3) Of critical importance -- gut the domestic-security budget now;
4) More important than opening another beer bar, that's for sure."

Mark the choice and continue.

"Generally speaking, which ethnic group has the strongest record of public service?
1) Swedish Americans;
2) Americans of English descent;
3) Americans of Swedish/English descent;
4) Anyone but the Irish."

Mark the choice; continue.

"What will be the biggest problem to face Orlando in the next 10 years?
1) Domestic violence;
2) The proliferation of seedy beer bars, especially on Church Street;
3) The shameful lack of a downtown performing-arts center;
4) Domestic violence that's committed in seedy beer bars."

Mark choice; continue.

"What penalty should be imposed on a candidate whose minions are caught stealing signs from a rival campaign?
1) A stiff fine;
2) Ninety days' imprisonment;
3) Run out of town on a rail;
4) Boiled in oil -- you know, like a potato."

Mark choice; continue.

"How would it make you feel to know that your mayor strongly resembled one or more characters from Gangs of New York?
1) Uneasy;
2) Disquieted;
3) Chagrined;
4) Oopsy-DAISY!"

Mark choice; continue. (Spotting a pattern here?)

"As Christian names go, how mayoral does Ã?Ken' sound to you?
1) Not very;
2) Not at all;
3) Not even close;
4) Ã?Skipper' is more like it."

Mark blah; blabitty-blah.

"Let's say you're being viciously beaten by a well-known public figure -- for the sake of argument, we'll make him a dark-horse candidate for mayor. Which of Buddy Dyer's deeply held principles gives you the greatest comfort that justice will ultimately be done?
1) His abiding respect for law and order;
2) His commitment to a highly trained, well-funded police force;
3) His appreciation of neighborhood-watch programs;
4) His policy of dispatching adversaries neatly and without witnesses."

Knit one; purl two.

"Finally, how important is it to you that an administration conduct its business totally in the open, paying full respect to our democratic notions of fairness and accountability?
1) Not very important;
2) Not specifically important;
3) Not at all important;
4) Who's got the time to worry about crap like that, when women are out there getting battered like clam strips?"

Thank the respondent for his/her participation, wish him/her a good day and hang up. Proceed to the next name on your list. When all the numbers have been called, return your answer sheets to Dyer '04 headquarters, where you will receive a coupon for two free cocktails at Mako's. An official campaign crowbar is available for your protection.

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