Edmonton

Phone poll called anti-Redford tactic

An Alberta blogger and political watcher says an automated telephone poll asking people what they think about Premier Alison Redford is a tactic to turn people against her.
Political observer David Climenhaga believes the poll is designed to create a negative opinion of Alberta premier Alison Redford. (CBC)

An Alberta blogger and political watcher says an automated telephone poll asking people what they think about Premier Alison Redford is a tactic to turn people against her.

"This is what's called in polling circles, push polling," said David Climenhaga, who first wrote about the poll on his blog Alberta Diary.

"This is a sleazy poll that's designed not really to measure public opinion, but to move people toward an opinion."

CBC News was able to obtain a recording of one of the automated calls.

After first asking people which Alberta political party they would be least likely to vote for and who among the party leaders would make the best premier, a youthful-sounding woman with a perky delivery asks whether the caller has a favourable or unfavourable opinion of each one.

The automated questions then ask about Redford's stand on universal daycare and the financial troubles of Carter McRae Events, a now-dissolved company owned by her chief of staff, Stephen Carter.

According to media reports, the company owes $600,000 to various creditors including the University of Calgary

"How does knowing this affect your likelihood of supporting Ms. Redford as premier?" the voice on the recording asks.

"Press one, if it makes you less likely to support her. Press two, if it makes you more likely to support her. Press three, if it doesn't change your likelihood of supporting her."

There appears to be fourth choice but it is cut off on the recording obtained by CBC News.

Climenhaga, who is also a communications officer for the United Nurses of Alberta, believes the questions are designed to push people towards the Wildrose Party.

No one knows for sure who commissioned the survey. The Wildrose Party did not return phone calls from CBC News on Monday.

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