Skip to content

Deliver me from pollsters!

September 19, 2013

It isn’t even officially campaign season yet, but I’m already receiving political polling calls and mailers and today I got one about SNAP. I get the business of polling. I even grasp that there might be potential for some useful information to be gleaned from polls, though I doubt it would actually serve a useful purpose.

What I can’t stomach is the blatant poll engineering that pre-loads the poll to achieve a particular response. “Are you for the expansion of the SNAP program, or do you prefer that people starve?” is obviously not a question designed to elicit my honest opinion about food assistance for the poor.

OK, it wasn’t quite that blatant, but the intent to slant the poll was clearly there. Modern polls are designed to support some particular result, and coincidentally, to engender monetary support from like-minded donors by “proving” that the cause or campaign will be  successful due to wide public support.

Most people can’t define their political viewpoint in a simple yes or no format. A lot of people do care enough about the political landscape to want their voices heard, and I’m sure that filling out polls seem to fulfill that desire.

I once got a poll concerning state politics that caught me at a moment of rebellion. I love this kind of poll. It had the obligatory guilt and ego buttons. “Your voice is important. This poll is registered to you, and you are one of a very few people we trust to provide us with your opinion.” There was the veiled threat. “Please return this poll even if you don’t fill it out so we will not need to keep mailing out further polls”.

I get it. The company hired to do the polling gets graded on their response percentage and that has an effect their remuneration. I responded. I knew this particular candidate’s platform, and I checked every box in direct opposition to it. The poll was so clearly designed as a smear against the candidate’s opponent ( I didn’t much care for that one either) I just couldn’t resist.  I wasn’t necessarily opposed to everything but you know what? I never got another poll from them again that year. My neighbors did, but I was spared having to walk by the garbage can on my way in with the mail. 

I don’t mean to suggest that the public shouldn’t voice their opinion, or that the public’s opinions should be disregarded. That’s what America is all about. But it needs to be their opinion, not something that supports the preconceived result desired by some party or person. I realize that linking honesty to a campaign is not only an oxymoron, but totally unnecessary to achieve a result. Just don’t expect me to support that strategy by filling out some ridiculous poll. If you really want to know what I think, follow this blog. It’s cheaper and more valid for both of us. 

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: