Push polls are a common if controversial political ploy: A supposedly neutral pollster asks leading questions or paints unfair characterizations to get a voter to think about the upcoming election in a certain way.
What's uncommon is when a push pollster polls the person who's the topic being pushed.
But that's what happened Tuesday in Charleston, said City Council District 11 candidate Andy Brack.
Brack said a Conquest Research pollster asked for his thoughts about a candidate who "has unsuccessfully run for public office before and believes large government can solve our problems. He publishes a newspaper column and has never been involved in local community issues."
Brack ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2000 and lost, and he publishes a newspaper column.
Brack said it's "bush league" to portray him as someone who "believes large government can solve our problems" or to describe him, a former president of the Charleston Rotary Club, as "one who hasn't been involved in local community issues."
"I heard that and my blood pressure went up," Brack said. "This is the same old nasty politics that people are complaining about all over the country, and it's just not appropriate."
Brack asked the pollster who she was working for and didn't get an answer, but he thinks his challenger, Bill Moody, is behind the poll -- based on the pollster's descriptions that seemed to fit Moody and his other challenger for the West Ashley council seat, former Folly Beach City Councilwoman Laura Beck.
Moody said his campaign did the poll, but he was not involved in formulating the questions, which -- according to both Brack and Moody -- also included several straightforward queries.
"I don't know what his beef is," Moody said of Brack. "I would say the difference between us is pretty stark, and I'll stand on my record."
Elections are Nov. 8.