Troubling Phone PollsBy Katharine Q. Seelye
A Caucus reader in Florida tells us that she too was called by a research firm that has been telephoning other Jewish voters and delivering negative information about Senator Barack Obama.
After readers reported to various Web sites — including Politico , The New Republic, and Talking Points Memo — that they had received offensive calls, Politico reported that the poll was sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, which is working on behalf of Senator John McCain.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the coalition, told Politico that the firm was trying to "understand why Barack Obama continues to have a problem among Jewish voters."
Our reader, who is a 60-year-old Jewish woman and lives in Orlando, said she was furious about the call, which she received Sunday about 5 p.m. She said that the questions included being told things like Mr. Obama had a long relationship with pro-Palestinian leaders and that the church he attended had an anti-Israel slant (The New Republic lists the questions since its writer was on his computer at the time he received the call).
Our reader she said that while the questions angered her, she answered them because she was "curious to see where they were going." At the end, she said she told the young-sounding woman who was asking the questions that she should be "ashamed of herself." She said the woman agreed.
The calls were made by Central Research, based in New York. A recording on the company's answering machine says: "This is Central Research. We are a political polling company." She then leaves instructions for callers who want to be put on a do-not-call list.
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