Legislators in Maine recently fixed a misguided bill targeting "push polls" that could have irreparably biased the results of political polling in the state, heeding testimony from the Marketing Research Association (MRA).

L.D. 412 (HP 278), sponsored by Rep. Janice Cooper (D-Yarmouth), would have required callers to disclose the sponsors of telephone research calls at the opening of the call, if they named a candidate in the run-up to a primary or general election. Such disclosures would have been explicitly required for “telephone calls made for the purposes of researching the views of voters.”

MRA testified at a March 2 hearing before the House Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs, concluding that "it would be disheartening to see Maine hurt the ability to gather and understand public opinion and insights in this way, even as neighboring New Hampshire finally fixed their long-time ‘push poll’ law last year to properly target deceptive advocacy calls instead of bona fide survey research."

At a subsequent work session, the Committee stripped all the operative language out of L.D. 412 that could have impacted polling, amending it to just require sponsorship disclosure for political campaign robocalls (something that is mostly already required in state law). The House passed the bill, but it died on April 30 without Senate action.