From Out of the Mountain West? The Pollsters Are Coming.

The pollsters are coming. The pollsters are coming. It must be campaign season in Nevada and an outfit called Mountain West Research Center is polling. What do I think of Lucy Flores? Of Mark Hutchison? Of the tax initiative? How do I react to some really negative comments about the aforementioned candidates?  A little segment on how I feel about Governor Sandoval, but so little as to convince me that whoever paid for this polling is far more interested in the race for Lt. Governor.  A few questions about the tax initiative, with a quick summation of pros and cons, wherein the cons sounded very much like GOP talking points.  In fact, most of the summations sounded like talking points and/or lines of vulnerability for the candidates under consideration.

Mountain West Research Center, with a 208 (Idaho) prefix, wants me to know: “Some say we’re the sherpas of market and opinion research. We say if the pack fits, wear it.”   With the 232 added to the number, this makes me think the outfit is located in Pocatello.  A couple of years ago there were some people annoyed by the firm’s calling practices, and one claim that a representative told a contact the company was not bound by Do Not Call restrictions. [800 notes]

Interesting coming from a firm which is rather solidly tied to the fine old art of push polling.  Back in 2010 a Democratic candidate in New Hampshire hired Mountain West Research, got caught push polling, and was fined. But, that’s to get just a bit ahead of the story.

There seems to be a bit of history for Mountain West Research, as follows from Mother Jones:

“Since then, Western Wats and the Mountain West Research Center have popped up regularly during competitive election seasons—frequently in conjunction with push-poll allegations. In 2006, democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont’s campaign reported that supporters had gotten push-polled by Mountain West during his primary challenge against Democrat Joe Lieberman. Western Wats also surfaced in the Vermont Senate campaign that year, tied to negative calls against the Senate’s only bona fide socialist, Bernie Sanders. But Western Wats really made news in 2008, when it was identified as the firm behind calls to voters in New Hampshire suggesting that Mitt Romney had dodged the Vietnam draft by serving as a Mormon missionary in France. The campaign behind those calls was never identified, though Rudy Giuliani was the leading suspect. (Ayotte, as attorney general, was charged with investigating the allegations.)” [MJ 10/22/2010]

But wait, there’s more, including allegations that Mountain West Research violated labor laws.

“In April, Western Wats (Mountain West) settled a complaint with the US Department of Labor for serious violations of child labor laws. It agreed to pay more than $500,000 for reportedly employing more than 1,400 kids under 16 (some as young as 13) to staff its call centers. Many of the kids were paid less than minimum wage. Naturally, Western Wats dismissed the complaint as mostly full of “technical” violations, but the civil penalty was among the largest ever assessed by the Department of Labor for child labor violations.” [MJ 10/22/2010]

And, then in October 2010, Mountain West paid a fine of $20,000 for its push polling in New Hampshire. [ResLive]

So, let’s assume for the moment that Mountain West Research Center, 1110 Yellowstone Ave. #227 Pocatello, ID 83201, is yet again joining the fray — inserted into Nevada’s campaign season by someone who hopes no one will notice its former connections to high jinx in New Hampshire and Vermont, and its questionable labor practices of days not so long gone by?

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