Pollution

Attempts to manipulate and corrupt the polls are now a serious woldwide phenomenon.

Issue: Spring 1998

In the closing weeks of the 1972 presidential election, I was a
witness to a bizarre attempt by the Nixon campaign to pressure the
Harris Poll, in order to influence our published numbers. Chuck
Colson, one of the Nixon aides who later served time in prison
because of Watergate, called to tell us that the peace negotiations
with North Vietnam were at a very critical stage. The North
Vietnamese, he assured us, were following the polls very closely. If
they saw Nixon's lead slipping, they would probably wait on the
possibility of a McGovern victory. If Nixon maintained his big lead,
there was a good chance they would agree to peace terms with Nixon
before the election. Tough pressure on a pollster. Fortunately,
Nixon's lead did hold up, so we didn't have to feel guilty for his
failure to get a peace treaty before the election.

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