Provincial Liberal leader David Karwacki has accused the Saskatchewan Party of using a controversial form of polling against him in an upcoming byelection.
"Push polling" is a survey method in which questions are used to plant ideas, often negative ones, in the minds of respondents. It's also a strategy that all of the provincial leaders promised they would never use.
However, Karwacki says the Saskatchewan Party is now using push polling against him in Weyburn-Big Muddy byelection race.
"The negative message they want to get out is that the federal Liberals are responsible for the gun-control bill and how much money that has lost," he said.
Karwacki says the provincial Liberals haven't supported the long-gun registry, going back to the time Lynda Haverstock was party leader.
The Saskatchewan Party admits it's asking a question about Karwacki and the federal gun registry.
However, party leader Brad Wall says its recent phone survey is not push polling.
"We're asking the question: The fact that the Liberal Party of Canada – a party that Mr. Karwacki supports – is the architect of and still the defender of the gun registry as it exists … does that make a difference?"
Wall said it's not a case of push polling, however, because the Saskatchewan Party is also asking questions that seek negative comments about itself.
"For example, we ask people if they think that the Saskatchewan Party is the same as the [Progressive Conservative] government from the 1980s," he said.
More than a dozen Progressive Conservative politicians and officials were charged with fraud-related offences in connection with misuse of expense money.
The relatively small sample size also suggests push polling isn't the goal, Wall said.
The number of people called is in the hundreds, not the thousands, whereas the point of push polling is to get a message out to as many people as possible, he said.