Someone Is Thinking About Challenging Mayor Menino

More annonymous polling calls were made this week.

Yet again, some anonymous polling firm put me through a few minutes of questions this week on the upcoming Mayor’s race.

The call came earlier this week and started off with some softballs about my “key issues,” then segued to favorable/unfavorable ratings on a slightly puzzling cast of characters: Ayanna Pressley, Tom Menino, Steve Lynch, Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Felix Arroyo, and John Connolly. There was no mention of Greg Selkoe, who was mentioned in my previous experience with such calls.

Next, it asked a series of neutrally worded questions about Mayor Menino’s work on issues like job creation, schools, public safety, and more.

And here’s where it gets interesting: The questioner changed tactics. For a variety of issue areas—teacher contracts, retention of families, BPS graduation rates, violent crime, workforce diversity, BPS performance, unemployment, and transparency—the interviewer presented a negative statement about the Mayor and asked if this made me more or less likely to vote for the Mayor.

Depending on your view of the world, this could be construed as testing for which negative messages resonate most strongly with voters. But its also akin to a “push poll,” where the pollster’s intent is to spread negative information about a candidate—not actually collect information.

I don’t rule out the possibility that the Menino campaign could be doing some “self-scouting” to determine areas of weakness, but it certainly seems like someone else is going to a lot of trouble and expense to run against the Mayor in 2013.