Pushing Against Hancock

The state Republican Party saw huge gains in state races with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket in 2008 and they don't plan to miss another opportunity for gains in November. They are attempting to tie any and all Democratic candidates to the president.

There has been a push poll in Knox Count against Democrat Anthony Hancock, who is running against incumbent state Rep. Steve Hall, a Republican. The "poll" asks if it would influence your decision to know that Hancock is supporting President Obama. It's one of several questions, some of them lauding Hall as a small-business conservative and tying Hancock to unions and special-interest groups that support Obama.

Hall says the poll is not being done by his campaign.

The principal suspect is the House Republican caucus. The group has been using the president's unpopularity in much of Tennessee to undermine Democratic candidates.

In addition to influencing the person called, a push poll is also used to see which question elicits the most negative response. The info is then used to design campaign materials, principally mail-outs, on these issues.

Gary Loe, a Republican running against Democrat Gloria Johnson for state Rep. Harry Tindell's old seat, said he is unaware of any push polling being done in his race.