Update: Geller Campaign Says Their Poll Shows Him Leading; Gunzburger Fights Back


It has become the battle of competing polls.  

First,  Sue Gunzburger released a poll supposedly showing her winning re-election easily in her southeast Broward county commission district.  

Now, Steve Geller’s campaign says they have a  poll that shows the former Senate beating Gunzburger.

But Geller is not ready to release the figures…..yet.

Ron Gunzburger, the son of the county commission and her campaign manager, issued a statement through Browardbeat.com this weekend contending their poll was accurate.  His statement — in the comment section below — is filled with interesting links backing up his contention.

Geller’s campaign manager David Brown made the claim in a statement denouncing County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger’s poll released on Tuesday.

Brown called Gunzburger’s poll “dishonest” and “nothing more than a distortion.”

Geller predicted to me last week that Sue Gunzburger would spin a false conclusion to disguise her losing her own poll.

“I was right,” Geller said Thursday.

Brown and Geller said they will release their poll figures shortly. They only have raw data and when it is compiled, it will be fully released, they said.

Here is Brown’s statement.  The allegation that Geller is leading is contained in the last paragraph:

“Response to Gunzburger Press Release on their poll   

From David Brown, Steve Geller Campaign  3/17/10

“I have reviewed the Press Release sent out by the Gunzburger campaign which you printed in its entirety.  It is interesting both in what it says, as well as what it doesn’t say.

The poll by Keith Frederick,  paid for by the Gunzburger campaign, shows that her opponent, Former Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller, is currently better known and better liked than Gunzburger.  This confirms the other polls which have been taken in this race, including one by Broward Beat.  It is, however, an intentional attempt to mislead the public for her campaign press release to claim that Gunzburger is leading Steve Geller by a margin of 47% to 33%. It is an outright fabrication or at least an artful dodge around the facts.

It is significant that the Gunzburger campaign did not release the all important “top line poll number, which is “who would you vote for if the election were held today? Every poll which has asked that question shows Geller with a double digit lead.  It has been reliably reported that the Gunzburger Campaign poll included that question at the beginning, but they have chosen not to release that all important number. Why?  If the Gunzburger campaign releases that number, we are confident it too will show Steve Geller with a double digit lead. 

After we learned that our opponent was “in the field conducting a poll, we decided that prudence dictated that we should do the same to protect against exactly what we are now seeing. The Gunzburger campaign has now been caught playing with their poll numbers and trying to use them to paint a false picture of the true status of the candidates.

Instead the Gunzburger campaign has done what every campaign that is down in the polls does; it creates and releases a fictitious “informed voter poll and tries to shop it around to the media hoping to generate positive headlines that they will then use to hoodwink the voters and confuse potential contributors.  This type of poll describes both candidates the way that the person asking the poll wants them described.  There is usually some attempt at balance, but the descriptions are always the way that the person doing the poll would like the campaign described.  This aspect of polls are generally of dubious  value to campaign experts because they assume that the candidate doing the polling will be able to deliver their message, and must also assume that the other side will run the type of campaign that the polling side predicts.  These types of “informed polls almost always show that the person doing the polling wins, regardless of their current standing, and bear little resemblance to the ultimate outcome.  They have some instructive value inside the campaign, but to release those numbers as thought they were “top line numbers is nothing more than a distortion.

Our campaign’s well respected pollster has just finished collecting the raw data and will be releasing the poll within the next few days. Preliminary analysis confirms that Geller has  a double digit lead because voters know him better and approve of the leadership he has shown representing them in the State House and State Senate

We will run the Geller campaign the way that we intend, and not according to the way that the Gunzburger campaign wants us to.  If we were to play by their tortured rules and describe the candidates the way that we want to, I am sure that we could release a dishonest poll that would show that Steve has a  20+ point lead over Gunzburger.  Instead, we will be releasing the honest numbers, which we expect will show the same thing as both other polls in the race have already shown, which is that Steve Geller consistently has had a double digit lead over Gunzburger, and continues to enjoy that lead today. All 4 polls taken so far, including the two earlier polls, the Gunzburger poll, and the poll that we will release soon show Steve Geller with higher name recognition and higher favorable numbers.  If the Gunzburger campaign releases the current head to head “top line numbers, we are confident that it will also show Geller with a double digit lead over Gunzburger.  No reasonable person trying to write an accurate press release could claim that Gunzburger is beating Steve Geller in the polls.”

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16 Responses to “Update: Geller Campaign Says Their Poll Shows Him Leading; Gunzburger Fights Back”

  1. Fake Name says:

    Must be true. No comment from property appraiser office (campaign head quarters)yet.

  2. Kevin says:

    Dave Brown is absolutely right on this, as are your experts from UF.

    This is not the fault of Keith Frederick, the pollster (who is very good at what he does), but of the campaign.

    They have released the info in what amounts to a push poll, but I bet the top line question reveals that Gunzburger is behind, and then they do the push questions, and she is ahead. I cannot tell you how many times I have done polls where this happens…. hell, you can even make up a fictitious candidate and that person would be ahead after the push questions!

    Kevin Hill.

  3. Mangia Pardner Mangia says:

    A pathetic choice.

  4. Resident says:

    You know there is only one poll that counts. The one later this year when the people vote.

    No one should ever just vote for someone only because they think they will win. The “I Vote Only for Winners” voters.

    Also, polls can change quickly anyhow, i.e., a little election for a Senate seat up north a few months ago as an example.

    So forget the polls. These done for a candidate are really only for the candidates to help them figure out how to campaign, and who to target anyhow.

  5. Makes sense says:

    The push poll by Gunzburger was way too suggestive. Geller’s may be too, but not as bad as Sue’s. Too bad they have the same initials. It makes it hard for quick comments where SG would be the preferred method of writing. Maybe we should seek a ballot initiative to change one of their names. Wouldn’t be the dumbest one I’ve seen by a long shot.

  6. Richard Nixon says:

    These candidates learned everything they know from me. Now they have to put spies in the other campaigns and plant lies in the newspapers. Oh, they are already doing that!
    Geller and Gunzburger are the new Nixons.

  7. woo woo ginsburg says:

    Geller tries to hide that he is a tool of special interests and took large sums of money from ponzi schemes.

    If he gets elected, it will open the door to development everywhere since his profession is developer’s lobbyist.

  8. Ron Gunzburger says:

    Hey David!

    You wrote: “This aspect of polls are generally of dubious value to campaign experts because they … must also assume that the other side will run the type of campaign that the polling side predicts.

    We predicted, David, in crafting our poll, that you’d run a competent campaign and hit us with everything possible. Perhaps we were wrong to predict competence. We’ll know in August.

    Now, here are some facts about polling from respected independent sources.

    First, here’s a story from the American Association for Public Opinion Research conference about how the polling industry continues to further use message testing polls, and refine the way they are asked, because they are “legitimate” and a “very important” way to play out what happens. Pollsters “use these polls every day.” Our poll met all the requirements of AAPOR for making this a totally legitimate poll (using the suggested transitions/context, using balance in the number of negs asked about both sides, and including equal positives about both). Watch the 5 minute video from the conference. Frederick Polls used ALL improvements suggested and didn’t use any of the criticized approaches discussed in the video clip: http://www.pollster.com/blogs/aapor09_tom_guterbock.php

    Here’s a quote from The Rothenberg Report/Roll Call:

    “Push questions are not the same thing as push polls. Push questions … are a legitimate part of a public opinion poll that seeks to test effective messages. … Testing possible messages is a legitimate survey research function, and as long as the question is asked of a small sample and seeks to get a response to know whether the issue is useful in an election, it really doesn’t matter how negative the message is.”


    Our poll methodology is well accepted by the profession. See:

    “… I think a review of the major network and newspaper polls will show that the vote question appears early in the survey, but very rarely as the first question and never the only question. This does however raise a valuable point of legitimate disagreement among pollsters: Is it better to remind a voter of a variety of issues and considerations about the candidates through your survey before asking the vote question, or is it better to get the vote response early before you have “primed” the respondent to be thinking of particular issues. For example, at Wisconsin an ongoing survey in the 1990s asked about the state of the economy as the warmup items, then asked presidential approval. We switched that to ask initial questions about interest in politics and attention to news as the warmups to avoid priming the respondents to think of the economy before they thought about presidential approval. Now some, perhaps Greenberg, would argue that asking a series of questions about current politics before the approval question (or vote in an election survey) is actually a good thing because those are the considerations voters are likely to carry with them to the polls. Others would point to evidence that the questions you prime will have greater influence over approval or vote response than questions that might matter to voters but which you happen not to bring up. … I am more sympathetic to a claim that campaign pollsters or advisors on policy as Greenberg’s book illustrates, may be able to craft surveys that get at the ability of politicians to shape public response through how they talk about issues. Media and academic [top-line] polls are seldom focused on this, and in that way are arguably more limited.


    Frederick Polls did everything right with our poll. Message testing is legitimate and it works for predicting shifting outcomes and what moves voters.

  9. Hey Ron, says:

    I don’t question the professionalism of the Fredrick’s polling firm that you are using. It is your selective use of the results of “informed voter” questions to attempt to convey through your Press Release that you are ahead when in fact is Steve Geller is ahead in the polling. Our poll, which we only initiated after hearing that you were polling so that you wouldn’t be able to pull any suprises on us, most liely also accurately reflects that Steve has represented the Hollywood, Pembroke Pines and Hallandale parts of the District well and the voters recognize and appreciate his leadership even in a Republican controlled legislature.

    None of the “facts about polling” that you present above changes that…and nice little shot about competence. We’ve known each other too long to take cheap shots.

    See you soon.

  10. I agree says:

    I agree with Ron. A poll is not a reflection of the future election if it doesn’t anticipate the issues that will be used.

  11. Slime begets Slime says:

    Interesting choice Geller makes for a campaign manager.

    David Brown is a arguably a disreputable slime bag and is a perfect match for Geller, who is perhaps an even bigger slime bag.

    Brown is a man who routinely betrays others for personal gain, always sticks his nose in where it does not belong, lies at every opportunity and could not even come in anywhere near the money in his own feeble past attempts at public office.

    This is a guy who works out of his house (note his PO Box address)and would probably be homeless but for the fact his wife is a dentist.

    The real victims here are the poor people of this Commission District in that these are their only choices.

    Very sad indeed, BUT at lease David Brown has good teeth.

  12. Ron Gunzburget says:

    David: if you wanted YOUR poll to be accurate, why were you afraid to ask any question on Steve Geller’s ties to the billion dollar Mutual Benefits ponzi scheme and his vote for the odious “scarlet letter” bill which would have required women to print the names of their sex partners in the newspaper before being allowed to consider adoption options? Leaving those key “negatives” out has largely rendered your own poll useless.

  13. It's not Ron G it's me says:

    First of all David you are a slime bag. I wouldn’t hire you to run a campaign for dog catcher. You ran Sharukk Danji’s campain for Sheriff and he did well 8% of the vote. Good job Dave, keep selling the pencils and riding on your wifes coattail.
    Sue is a wonderful person and great commissioner. Geller sold his sole to two Ponzi criminals.
    Go Sue just hiring David Brown means you already won.

  14. Resident says:

    As far as believing anything that Ron Gunzburger or David Brown say, I wouldn’t put any weight in it. They are two peas in a pod.

    In reading about campaign managers in Broward, Ron Gunzburger, David Brown, Judy Stern, Barbara Miller, Neil Stirling, Beverly Bard Stracher, and a few others, its the same thing over and over again. When we start seeing campaigns run by someone other than the usual suspects, maybe we will get more honest and better elected officials.

  15. Resident says:

    Neil Sterling doesn’t run campaigns – EVER! Ron Gunzburger hasn’t run a campaign in years. He’s an excellent and bright operative, but he has a demanding full time job.

    When some other campaign consultants start learning a little bit about this county and how campaigns and politics really work, maybe some candidates will start hiring them! Until then,like with anything, the status quo remains.

  16. the poll means nothing says:

    The Gunzburger/Geller primary does not occur until August. At this stage of the campaign, they are still in the process of gathering support on a one-on-one basis or with groups of constituents. They have not begin trying to define their opponent, or themselves through any media in an organized way.

    There have been no TV commercials, no mailingt to homes. It is too early for any of that.

    The only purpose to polls right now is to see who would win under what conditions. The polls tell the candidates not so much at this point where they stand in the election in August, but where they stand now versus their opponent and how they can improve and win in August.

    So nothing about these polls is important except to the candidates themselves. They know how to read their own polls to figure out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The final test will be how they use that information as we get closer to the actual election to defeat their opponent.

    Early polls two years ago showed that Barack Obama had no chance of winning the White House. By election day nobody doubted how the election would turn out.