There are several voters in states like Michigan, Florida, and Virginia who are confused and angry about receiving cryptic robo-calls from a public polling agency called Independent Voter Research. The only problem is there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that Independent Voter Research exists. Who, then, is responsible for these calls?
Type in ‘independent voter’ in Google and among the most popular hits are ‘Independent Voter Network’ and ‘Independent Voter Research.’ But neither the Independent Voter Network (IVN.us) nor its partners are responsible for these calls and ‘Independent Voter Research’ is nowhere to be found.
[Update: Further investigation suggests ties to Republican polling group.]
Various online internet forums are flooded with complaints about mysterious robo-calls from unidentified numbers conducting a survey on the current presidential election. The reports are consistent and describe an automated voice that asks basic demographic questions such as age, sex, ethnicity, party affiliation, and if the survey taker will likely vote. The automated voice then proceeds with questions on which candidate the person is leaning towards.
In many of the complaints, it is reported that a number is given to contact a political polling agency called Independent Voter Research. However, when someone tries to dial the number 866-540-3140 no one answers. Instead, callers only get an automated message:
“Thank you for contacting Independent Voter Research. We’re sorry to have missed you. We were trying to reach you to get your opinion. Have a nice day.”
The calls vary in origin, usually coming from a 866 or 202 phone number. The contact number provided is unlisted and there is no website or online record of the firm.
In February, Rolling Stone published an article online about a polling effort conducted in Michigan during the Republican race for the presidential nomination. In these calls, the pollster was never identified, but it did end by informing the survey taker that they could contact the group at 866-540-3140. Just as it was with the most recent cases, the automated message identified the organization as Independent Voter Research.
While the mystery of Independent Voter Research confounded voters, it was uncovered then that the research was not independent at all. It is alleged that the survey was being conducted by Mitt Romney’s campaign.
The people at Rolling Stone figured out the deceptive polling technique when they tested the functionality of the Romney campaign’s social networking feature, “MyMitt.” Volunteers that sign up at MyMitt are encouraged to use the “Call From Home” tool. It was discovered that the script provided to volunteers was the same script used by mysterious pollsters calling likely GOP voters.
Volunteers were connected to Michigan voters by a central system that first called the volunteer and then auto-dialed numbers for them. The process is supposed to be faster, but it also prevents the pollster’s information from showing up on caller ID and the script doesn’t instruct volunteers to identify themselves or that they are calling on behalf of the Romney campaign.
No matter how many times a person calls the number for Independent Voter Research, no one answers. The only difference between the Michigan calls in February and the more recent reports seems to be that the calls are completely automated now. We are continuing our investigation…
Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.
I could care less who owns it and operates it. All I know is that they are disrespectful, unethical and should be made to pat stiff penalties for calling registered Do Not Call numbers. They DO NOT have a charitable exemption status.
This web page auto drops a multitude of commentary language. Total censorship on this page. waste of time.
additional comment, I think this website just auto canned my comment because I mentioned the name of that very important and influential person named mr p a u l.
Interesting, I saw this once before, when John McCain was running against George Bush. A push polling campaign attacking McCain was lauched Sub Rosa by the McCain Campaign, and then McCain's people blamed Bush. I see that this annoyance campaign is being talked about on rolling Stone, Baby-Gaga, and a lot of other Obama supporting news-sites with the blame being directed towards Romney. I expect these sources will be used later to support reports on MSNBC and the Gore network. Good work.
I too have been recieving these calls and it has become more than annoying. These calls are coming at all hours of the day and night and definatly seem to be coming from the Romney campain. I just got off the phone with Romney campain headquarters at 857.288.3500 and I explianed that they had just lost my vote due to these calls. I also said that they were alianating lots of potential voters out there. I encourage people to call that number and let your voice be heard. At this point a vote for either of these candidates is a vote for big money. Until big money is removed from our political system Washington will continue to ignore what is in the best intrest of average citizens and the country. See for yourself at citizensadvisory.org. Our best weapon is becoming educated voters and stop believing the brainwashing from the Corporate controlled media.
I live in VA and just received a call from Independent Voter Resesrch (202)808-3075. This is my first time getting a call like this since I thought I was on the DNC. At first Ihought it was the FCC calling me back because I filed a complaint against someone who sent robo text messages to cell phone numbers here in VA claiming that Tim Kaine is going to raise our taxes.
Tim Kaine is running for US Senate here. This stuff is getting out of hand!
Our household has been receiving weekly calls from Independent Voters Research, my wife and I respond by completing the survey, we have done this several times. Whoever is paying for this "research" is being robbed as the results are flawed due to multiple inputs of the same voter. Repeat counts from one household certainly do not provide an accurate demographic slice of voter's position.
I live in Iowa and get a call from Independent Voter Research. Today I asked who is IVR and what is being done with the in formation? The girl on the other end of the line didn't have an answer, just a phone number. Which no one answers when I call. Area codes that come up are 970 which is Colorado, and 202 which is Washington DC.
I get calls from this group at least once a week. I always answer in different ways each time. I, too got the 866-540-3140 number. but, I think the actual number is 202-367-9922 (I might be wrong on that). Anyway, they must be getting a lot of bogus answers!
I just give them confusing information.
I give them the wrong statistical data about me then tell them I'm a Republican but that I am voting for all the Democrats.
These annoying calls just won't stop from both 6513195921 and 8665403140, Luckily, since they're being done by people associated with the Mitt Romney campaign, I've got actual people that you can call.
This is the contact for one of the Iowa contacts, doesn't matter what state you live in, in fact, it's probably better if we all call just one person so he gets to see what it's like to be bombarded with annoying phone calls. The local campaign offices are the only people who can take you off the list. And before you ask, yes, he does deserve it, I called asking politely to be added to their DNC list and he sounded like he started laughing at me.
I live in Nevada. A few weeks ago I recieved the 1st call. A couple of days later....the 2nd. Now it's EVERY Godamned day. Same f@%kin' robocall. STOP ringing my f#KIN' phone already!!!!
if this is truely an automated system that the GOP used then there has to be a paper tail leading to the origin of the company. I this central data base is calling the GOP then calling us track the phone records. I personally would like to see the owners of these servers doing time for violating the do not call list.
Interesting. I hope nobody thinks that IVN is behind it just because of the Google results. Good to see that this article shows up to rebuke any such claims.
what makes you think it is romney campaign...because this writer says so...i also get this call and it is not obvious to me that it is republicans..get the facts then tell us
Thank you for this number! I just called and supposedly spoke with this guy, calmly asking if "Independent Voter Research" had been contracted by their campaign to conduct a survey in my area. He said he wasn't certain but that he could add my number to their do not call list. Despite my flaming rage over the daily calls I get I remained calm and non-accusatory and his offer sounded genuine. We'll see if this leads to any results...