Toscano Accuses Tingley of Push-Polling

In a press release today, candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 57th District Hosue of Delegates David Toscano accused one of his competitors for the seat, developer Kim Tingley, of push-polling — that is, paying a polling firm to call voters and say bad things about Toscano, under the guise of being a poll. The press release reads:

Last night, many Democrats in the 57th District received telephone calls from a Florida company apparently hired by candidate Kim Tingley to conduct push-polling interviews. The pollsters, who when asked, identified themselves as “working for Tingley,” made numerous and incorrect assertions about the character and record of three-term City Councilor and former Charlottesville Mayor David Toscano. If, in fact, Mr. Tingley is not behind this “guerilla marketing” campaign tactic, we call on him to repudiate this effort being conducted on his behalf. If he is indeed the perpetrator of these negative push-polls, we call on him to cease any further such activity. This tactic is reminiscent of the negative campaign style witnessed in the recent presidential election and is consistent with the type of smear campaigns that distort a candidate’s record under a win-at-all cost mentality. If Mr. Tingley wants to continue to be a progressive player in the Charlottesville area, he will need to realize that here, we try to run clean, issues-oriented campaigns.

Has anybody gotten one of these calls? Is it really a push poll — which would be very unusual and probably a big waste of Tingley’s money — or is it just a regular ol’ poll that asks, reasonably enough, about Toscano? Is Toscano feeling the heat from Tingley? Or is Tingley trying to get his name in the news? Tingley Tingley Tingley?

Disclosure: I’ve been known to volunteer my time for Rich Collins, who is also a candidate in this race. I’ll keep disclosing this ’til I get sick of it. The good news is that he’s a mediator, by career, so maybe he can sit these two guys down and get ’em to work out their differences.

1 Response to “Toscano Accuses Tingley of Push-Polling”


  • I got one of the calls yesterday evening at around 6:30 pm. I had already seen the Toscano press release so I grabbed pen and paper right away to take notes during the call.

    It’s not a push-poll. Just a really bad poll. There was nothing factually innacurate about David Toscano. Like any poll, they gave positive & negative statements about each candidate and their stance on an issue and asked me to rank my opinion after hearing each statement. If anything, there were more (and accurate) negative statements about Kim Tingley than about David Toscano. They included questions about Rich Collins but didn’t say anything negative say about him.

    The negatives on Toscano included his vote against the now-popular living wage, ambiguity on the death penalty, his positioning as a middle-of-the-road guy in a far left district and lack of support for civil rights on issues like gay marriage and civil unions.

    Negatives cited for Tingley include the fact that he is a developer, he has few clear ties to this community, no record with the Democratic party, no political experience of any kind and no demonstrated ability to get things done. Also, they mentioned that he has no grassroots support and is only in this race because he has a lot of his own money to throw around, rather than a fundraising base of ordinary citizens writing a lot of small checks. Remember that this is his own poll that he paid for.

    The silly thing is that this is a local primary in a town where the Dems almost never go negative on each other. Nobody was ever going to attack Kim Tingley for any of those things, however true they may be. Even if that wasn’t the case, nobody takes him seriously enough to bother going after him. But now that HE has introduced those negative issues about himself it’s all open for discussion. Maybe if he’d spent a little time around the Democratic party before running he would have known this and not shot himself in the foot.

    Altogether, if this poll influences the recipients of the calls in any direction it will probably be against Tingley. His own poll made him look like an amateur, out-of-town hack trying to buy his way into office without establishing any track record of credibility or party involvement.

    No, the poll didn’t hurt Toscano one bit. What hurt Toscano was going off half-cocked and sending out that press release. I am sure that some local media are going to cover this. They will get transcripts of the polling questions, see that it was not a push-poll and now David Toscano will look like a hothead itching for a fight with a fellow Democrat. In order to cover the story completely they will print the negative statements about each candidate. Probably 500 people got those phone calls. Now 50,000 people are going to see those negative quotes. David Toscano just bought himself a whole barrel of negative ink. Oops.

    Who’s going to be left unscathed by this neat little drama? Rich Collins, who gets to stay above the fray and continue to promote his widely applauded (and recently imitated) plan to stop property reassessments and end the growth tax. It’s almost as if Tingley and Toscano got together to give Collins a present with a big red ribbon around it.

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