Friday, July 27, 2012

Is There Value in the Polls?

Ron Paul taking questions in Manchester, NH
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The phone rings at 3:35 pm, right in the middle of my writing time. I consider not answering, but the piercing ring gets to me.

Me: (tentatively) Hello

The voice on the other end of the line: (a little too exuberantly) Hello!!!

Me: (silence)

The voice: (worried) Hello?

Me: Uh huh

The voice: Hi! I'm with xxxxx polls. If you had to vote today, would you vote for Romney or Obama?

Me: (hang up)

And I think (in this order):

Why did I pick up the phone?

Please don't call me back.

I should have asked them to take me off the calling list. (Can you do that for pollsters?)

I should have answered, "Ron Paul." Not that I really plan to vote for Ron Paul, but I amuse myself momentarily by thinking it would be fun to give her an answer that isn’t in the script.

And I wonder (in this order):

How did she record my answer? As undecided, perhaps? Uncooperative? Either would be an assumption on her part. The only accurate recording would be "refused to participate."

Do other people just answer honestly, unfazed by the intrusion to their day? Can their responses be believed? Is it just me that is tempted to give a snarky response?

Is there someone out there who actually wants the pollsters to call them?


Dave E said...

Caller id is a godsend. If I don't recognize the number or it's withheld, they get the answering machine.

PS. glad to see you back, Friday's not the same without you.

Colette Martin said...

Dave, I have been trying not to answer when it's a 1-800 number or an obvious spam call, but the thing that throws me off lately is cell phones... I always wonder if it's someone I should talk to.

Thanks for welcoming me back. I can't promise I'll post every week though!

Carol Kilgore said...

I get these calls and they're always from Washington or Oregon. And I live in Texas. After the first two, I no longer answer. I figure if it's any of the few people I know in those states who aren't in my contact numbers, they will leave a message.

Anon_e_mouse said...

These calls, as far as I am concerned, are SPAM, and as such should be illegal if you have filed your number on the Do Not Call list. But politicians - one of the lowest life forms on earth, in my opinion - have exempted themselves from these laws, so we're stuck with them. My stock answer, when asked who I'm going to vote for, varies depending on my mood, but it's always some historical figure who is well-known for being extremely evil - Hitler, Stalin, Dracula - and then I hang up.

Joanne Tombrakos said...

This is so good and so true! I do the same thing and I suspect many of us do. One of the reasons I do not believe the polls.

Anonymous said...

It was probably a push survey anyhow... IE they poll you to push advertising one of the two choices. And note that there is no space for alternative political party candidates.

Not everyone knows this but there ARE more than two political parties in the USA who field candidates for the presidential race.

Steve in POK said...

C, glad to see you back. You ask the age old questions regarding what is called in the trade as "response error". Truthfully, no one knows.
My belief it that in most cases, as was the latest one I received, they are definitely directed by the candidate's reelection campaign. The truly neutral party surveys pretty much make it clear up front; eventually you can tell by the tone of the questions and the acceptable responses.