Several Bleeding Heartland readers living in different Iowa counties have received robocalls in the past few days featuring Congressman Steve "10 Worst" King. Like the calls King recorded in early April, these calls are paid for by the National Organization for Marriage.
I have not heard the call, but from what others have told me, it sounds like this fake survey is designed to raise money, identify and mobilize supporters. (In contrast, a "push-poll" usually seeks to spread information that would change people's minds about an issue or candidate.) The details are after the jump.
King's voice asks the person who answers the phone whether marriage is between one man and one woman. If you give the "wrong" answer, the call ends. According to a Bleeding Heartland reader who answered positively, respondents who give the "right" answer are given the phone number for Governor Chet Culver's office. You are encouraged to ask Culver to call a special legislative session to vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Also, the respondent can give a credit card number to make a donation (presumably to the National Organization for Marriage).
Note: the Marketing Research Association considers fundraising under the guise of a survey to be unethical.
Also note: it makes no sense to ask Culver for a special session. The Iowa Supreme Court's ruling in Varnum v Brien wasn't issued when the state legislature was in recess. Republicans already tried and failed during the 2009 legislative session to bring a constitutional amendment on marriage to a vote in the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate. Democratic statehouse leaders are determined not to let a marriage amendment go anywhere.
Anyway, Culver is not going to call a special session; he supports the Supreme Court decision and opposes a constitutional amendment.
Speaking of which, Culver discussed gay marriage on Iowa Public Television this weekend:
"One of the things that I've emphasized is the fact that the court spent a lot of time talking about religious marriage, something that I and so many Iowans believe we should protect -- the right for a church to make their own decision in terms of who gets married in that sacred place," Culver says. "So I think because the court wrote the opinion in a way that was clear in terms of protecting those religious rights, it's less likely they'll have a real political implication next fall." [...]
"From what I've heard and seen across the state, it has not risen to a level where I think it's going to be a major political issue," Culver says. "I think most Iowans believe that it's important to protect people's rights under the Iowa constitution."
I sincerely hope that Culver has some internal polling to back up that prediction. I wouldn't be surprised if he does.
Please post a comment or e-mail me (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if you have received this robocall, especially if you can add any details about the "survey" questions, the ask for money, or the phone number that should be given at the end of the recorded message.