Jill Zuckman at the Chicago Tribune reports That a negative "push poll" points out uncomfortable aspects of Mormonism to those polled. It appears that it is also designed to implicate John McCain's campaign as the originator of the poll. Excerpts of the article follow:
The GOP presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and John McCain -- rocked
in different ways by a highly negative "push poll" targeting Romney's
Mormon faith -- demanded Friday that the New Hampshire attorney general
investigate who is behind the tactic.
As part of the poll, which began Sunday, callers have been asking voters
in Iowa and New Hampshire whether they know that Romney is a Mormon,
that his five sons did not serve in the military and that Mormons
believe the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible.
The callers also inquire whether voters are aware that Romney, the
former Massachusetts governor, accepted deferments to avoid military
service in Vietnam while he was on a mission with other young Mormons in
At the beginning of the 20-minute survey, voters are asked whether they
are aware of McCain's decorated military service during Vietnam. That
has led many voters to assume the poll was sponsored by the Arizona
senator's campaign. But McCain's campaign immediately denounced the
effort and insisted it had nothing to do with it.
"Whoever did this wanted to hurt us by implication," said Mark Salter, a
senior aide to McCain. "That's why we were very forceful."
Romney's supporters have long feared that a shadowy whispering campaign
would arise at some point targeting his Mormon faith. The new push poll
may be the most explicit anti-Mormon message to emerge in the campaign so far.