The shtick went something like this, says our source, a Smith supporter who hadn't really ruled out Hales:
First the caller asked about mayors current and past (Sam Adams, Vera Katz... but not Tom Potter.) Then the caller probed our source's feelings about Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan. (Curious...) Then came a general question about support for either Hales or Smith.
After that? It started getting strange. The caller read off a long list praising Hales as a fabulous manager who's detail-oriented, and totally committed to fixing potholes and upgrading old sewers—and then asked again about our source's opinion of Hales, whether it had changed.
But then it took a dark turn, our source says. The survey taker read off a list about Smith that was nowhere near as glowing. He was cast as someone hot-tempered and prone to violence while playing sports, habitually unable to show up to places on time, with a bad traffic record, and no support from Planned Parenthood (which hasn't endorsed either candidate in the race). And then asked, again, now how do you feel?
"I thought it was completely despicable," our source said. "I hope it backfires."
So who's behind it? Our source said that the caller, when asked, replied it was "private information." Smith's campaign says it wasn't their poll—that they're sticking to their pledge to stay away from opposition research and polling. So is it Hales' campaign—which has also pledged to keep things positive? Or someone planning an independent effort (which Hales, despite his campaign finance pledge, has remained agnostic about)?
Super-consultant Mark Wiener, who's handling press calls about polling for Hales, confirmed Hales' team is out in the field with poll questions. (Worth noting, Wiener is also working for Nolan.) But he said, after the routine was described to him, the poll "does not sound like our poll," which he said provides "balanced information" about both candidates. (Hales also came out ahead in a recent KATU poll.)
He also offered a caveat: "People hear very different things when they listen to the same poll."
Our source heard one thing pretty loud and clear: "I was sort of waffling about Charlie Hales. Now you'd have to break my arm to vote for him."
Send us a note if any of you have gotten any poll calls—and if they're robo-calls, record 'em if you can!
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