Late yesterday, voters in Senate District 17 received a robo-call attacking State Rep. Ritch Workman on a variety of issues. The disclaimer at the end said the call was paid for by “Stop Career Politicians,” a group supporting Workman’s opponent, State Rep. Debbie Mayfield.
Within the hour, the phone rang again. This time, it was an automated poll with a disclaimer saying it was conducted on behalf of FloridaPolitics.com, which has published a number of negative stories about Workman over the past few weeks.
A Melbourne woman, who declined to be identified, stated the calls arrived a little less than an hour apart yesterday evening. The first was captured by her answering machine, the second, she managed to record as she participated in the automated poll.
The Capitolist is working to obtain and publish audio files of both calls.
Workman says his campaign received several calls from supporters who told the same story of “back to back automated calls” yesterday.
“I was shocked when I received several calls from my friends that all told the same story,” Workman said. “First they received a negative automated call regarding the immigration issue that Debbie has been using throughout the campaign, then within an hour, each told me they received an automated poll asking who they would vote for if the election was held today.”
Workman then leveled the finger directly at Mayfield:
“It is clear to me that Debbie clearly planned to follow up an automated call with an automated poll to get lopsided results. She can get all the July polls done she wants, the one that matters is August 30th and I am convinced my positive message and Debbie’s over the top negative campaign will help me secure a victory in the only poll that really matters.”
So was the FloridaPolitics.com poll, conducted by St. Pete Polls, influenced by a negative robocall less than an hour earlier? The results show Workman trailing Mayfield 43-25, according to the story that confirms the date of the robo-poll was July 26th.
“This must be how they got those slanted results in the past,” Workman’s campaign suggested.
A representative from the group behind the robocall has not yet responded to a request for comment from The Capitolist.
But St. Pete Polls published a story on FloridaPolitics.com last December hinting they would conduct fewer polls because they were finding it more and more difficult to make money in a business where it has become increasingly challenging to reach live voters. Apparently the company has found a new revenue model, or at least a new methodology. According to the company, a remarkable 644 “likely Republican primary voters” were reached for this survey.
Audio of both calls are posted below.