We told you former South Philly Ward Leader Nikil Saval’s Democratic primary challenge to state Sen. Larry Farnese would be a clash between new Philadelphia vs. old Philadelphia.
Then came the pollsters, calling last week from Farnese’s camp, pushing and testing negative information about Saval. For instance, did voters know Saval “founded a magazine for hipster Marxists?”
Two Saval supporters fielded the calls and gave Clout the download. The poll started in a traditional manner, asking about political knowledge and voting history. But then it swerved, asking if voters knew that Saval, a magazine writer, had started a “dark money group.”
That’s an apparent reference to Reclaim Philadelphia, the group he co-founded with fellow Bernie Sanders 2016 staffers. Reclaim has a nonprofit arm that posts financial information online and a political action committee that discloses donors and how the money is spent.
The pollster also suggested Saval is fomenting tension among Democrats at a time when they should be unifying to defeat President Donald Trump’s bid for a second term.
Saval, who sees this as a “push poll” — a negative messaging effort masquerading as an opinion survey — notes that he helped increase Democratic voter turnout during his time as the 2nd Ward Leader.
Dan Siegel, a political consultant for Farnese, said the campaign has no interest in or need for push polls.
“It’s not useful for us,” he said. “If there is polling in the field, it is for actionable data, not to move numbers in the polling.”