A “Push Poll” Problem: New Hampshire on the right track to fix misguided law and protect real survey and opinion research
Thanks to the state’s misguided “push poll” law, New Hampshire has proven a legal minefield for political survey and opinion research. However, legislation advanced in the state legislature this year, and the dismissal of a high-profile court case on June 17, 2013, indicate a final fix may be just around the corner in early 2014.
New Hampshire Attorney General v. Bass Victory Committee
Case No. 217-2012-cv-00233
Plaintiff: Anne M. Edwards, Senior Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General
Defendant: Bass Victory Committee
Overview of Facts: The New Hampshire Attorney General filed an action in state court against the Bass Victory Committee; the campaign committee of U.S. Congressman Charles Bass. The New Hampshire Attorney General filed an action seeking civil penalties against the Bass Victory Committee for engaging in “push polls” as defined under New Hampshire Revised Statute §664:2, XVII for failing to prove the required disclaimer in accordance to New Hampshire Revised Statute §664:16-a, I.
On April 26, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved Advisory Opinion 2012-10, declaring that federal campaign finance and election law supersedes New Hampshire's push poll law, for certain political polls.
The New Hampshire statute includes a poorly-drafted provision that is supposed to target "push polls", but actually restricts bona fide research by requiring political polls to disclose the sponsor of the call to the recipient. MRA has been advocating to change the New Hampshire law to protect research, in alliance with the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC).
New Hampshire goes cold on fixing flawed push poll law so we're headed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for help
The influential legislator in New Hampshire who seemed so eager to help MRA fix his state's "push poll" law, which harms and/or prevents bona fide political polling in the granite state, seems to have lost interest in assisting the research profession.
The Chairman of New Hampshire House Election Committee, Rep. David Bates (R-Rockingham-District 04), spoke with MRA over the weekend, seeking our assistance in fixing his state's misguided "push poll" law. Spurred by Friday's story in The New Times on MRA and AAPC's joint campaign against a poorly-drafted law that is supposed to target "push polls" but actually restricts bona fide research, Rep. Bates aims to amend the law to protect research.