In its launch press release of 23 April, the Committee
to Get Walker Running — a.k.a. Draft Walker — billed
itself as a
grassroots and youth-driven initiative to get our country’s fiscal house in order by drafting David Walker...as an independent candidate for president through Americans Elect.
A "grassroots and youth-driven initiative."
To be sure, the Committee is managed by Nick Troiano, who just last month stepped down from a 2-year stint as National Campus Director at Americans Elect, and who — at 22 — is himself barely a year out of Georgetown University.
And yet, the Committee — which is registered as a PAC with the FEC (pdf link) — claims to have conducted an April 2012 public opinion survey of 966 Florida registered voters, to gauge support for a David Walker candidacy.
Not generally the sort of activity that one associates with a project that is totally "grassroots" and "youth-driven."
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LET'S HAVE a closer look, shall we?
The Committee's home page at DraftWalker.com* includes a rotator feature — right side, scroll down — that cites two results from a poll that explicitly is sourced as "Draft Walker poll of 966 Florida voters, +/- 3.15%, April 2012."
The two results are:
75% of voters believe an independent candidate
should take part in this fall's Presidential debates.
39% of voters are open to voting for David Walker
in this year's Presidential election.
A few more details about this poll — including the
specific date — are available from a "Draft David
Walker Overview" document that is part of a list of downloadable "Volunteer Resources" toward the
bottom of the Web site's "Get Involved" page.
This Overview document (pdf link) includes,
in a Frequently Asked Questions section, the
Will the American people support this effort?
We recently conducted a public opinion survey to help answer that question. Results are based on an April 9th poll of 966 registered Florida voters (+/- 3.5%).
- After sharing some information about David Walker, 39% said they would be open to voting for him if his name appeared on the general election ballot.
- We found that his primary appeal to these voters is that his top issue is fiscal responsibility. This is no surprise given that 86% reported to be concerned (69% "very concerned") about our country's fiscal situation.
- Overwhelming support, 75%, was given to idea of an independent candidate being able to debate President Obama and the Republican nominee this fall.
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CURIOUSLY, these hushed mentions — intermittently flashing at the bottom of the Draft Walker home page and buried in a Draft Walker volunteer document — appear to be the only two references to this large survey, by the Committee or anybody else.
But the scant information that the "grassroots and youth-driven" Committee to Get Walker Running provides about this "Draft Walker poll" still manages to tell us a number of important things:
- The survey included a relatively large sample
of 966 registered voters in Florida.
- This was a telephone survey with a script of several questions and follow-up questions.
- The survey includes margins of error, and
is presented as a scientific poll.
All of this suggests a survey that was designed, written and conducted by a professional pollster
or polling firm or PR/branding firm with polling capabilities — not a handful of college students and recent college graduates.
So here are a couple of questions for the Draft Walker committee...
Where can one access the full survey and results of
this 9 April 2012 telephone survey of 966 Florida
Which pollster or polling firm or PR/branding firm
actually ran this survey?
Is this pollster, polling firm or PR/branding firm connected — in any way — (a) to Americans Elect;
(b) to David Walker; or (c) to persons, firms or organizations who are connected to Americans Elect
or to David Walker?
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THE OTHER QUESTION, of course, is: Who paid for this polling work?
Draft Walker — the Committee to Get Walker Running — may have paid for the work. Someone else, acting on the Committee's behalf, may have paid an individual pollster or firm directly for the work. Or a pollster or firm may have contributed all, or part, of the work pro bono.
Either way, the answers to all of these questions would put a good bit of meat on the bones of David Walker's confirmation of Neil Cavuto's observation that Draft Walker is "backing it up with money."
Walker went on to tell Cavuto that he himself is "not involved with" the Draft Walker committee, and that
he has "not had communications with them."
But veteran journalist Alexis Simendinger originally reported this week that Walker had "cooperated with" Committee treasurer and manager Nick Troiano.
In an email on Tuesday afternoon, I asked Simendinger about this; and I noticed yesterday evening that the intriguing "cooperated with" had been dialed back to
the somewhat labored "acknowledged the efforts of."
Still. This rather professional-sounding survey of
Florida voters is one of a number of clues that the "youth-driven" Committee to Get Walker Running
may be operating with more than a little bit of adult supervision — and the adult money that goes with it.
The question is: Who are the adults in this room?
* Attempting to visit the home page of DraftWalker.com
frequently generates a splash sign-up feature that obscures
the page. To make this pop-up disappear, simply click to
either side of the pop-up.