Push poll sullies supervisor race
March 27, 2014
By KAREN VELIE
A mysterious group has been placing highly misleading phone calls to south San Luis Obispo County voters, trying to dissuade them from voting for Mike Byrd or Lynn Compton in the June supervisorial election.
San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisor races have a reputation for political dirty tricks, and this year’s battle for District 4 supervisor between Byrd, Compton and Caren Ray is no exception. One popular tactic to mislead voters is known as a “push poll,” where workers phone voters under the guise of conducting a poll, and ask questions designed to give voters misleading impressions of political opponents.
During the past several weeks, voters in south San Luis Obispo County say they have been asked to participate in a poll about the upcoming election. If the voter agrees, a series of misleading questions follow.
Arroyo Grande resident Lin Hill said she received a call a few weeks ago from a person who said they were taking a quick poll regarding several issues facing voters on the next ballot. The caller went on to ask if Hill had heard of Mike Byrd, Caren Ray or Lynn Compton, Hill said.
“The caller asked if I was aware and did I care that Mike Byrd and Lynn Compton are members of the Tea Party,” Hill said. The caller then asked how Hill felt about the Tea Party compared to the Democrat and Republican parties.
However, the Tea Party is a movement that backs some candidates, primarily Republicans, but it is not a political party and nether Compton nor Byrd are members of the Tea Party.
Hill and other community members who participated in the poll said the caller also asked how they felt about Byrd and Compton not having any political experience.
However, in the late 70s and early 80s, Byrd spent eight years as the administrative assistant to Kern County Supervisor Jene Tackett.
Next, callers were asked how they felt about Compton funding her campaign with $100,000 of her own money, sources said.
However, of the $136,576 in contributions Compton reported on her California Form 460, $36,274 was provided by herself and her husband Pete Compton, with the remaining $100,302 coming from over 250 unique donors.
At the end the poll, voters were asked if they were aware Ray was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, several poll recipients said.
Correction: Lynn Compton is not associated with the Tea Party.