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I've been polled!

by: libra

Fri May 29, 2009 at 23:42:12 PM EDT

(Welcome, libra, to the front page! - promoted by kindler)

And this time it was "for real"; a real, live, responsive young lady, with a long list of cunningly skewed questions, not some robocall telling me to "press one".

As often happens, my husband and I answered the phone at the same time, in different parts of the house. Neither one of us caught much of the introductory palaver -- other than: "we're not selling anything" -- so I still don't know who conducted the poll, though I have a good idea of who paid for it. Once the young lady asked for me by name, my husband hung up and I was on my own.

The beginning was, I think, pretty standard...

libra :: I've been polled!
Would I say that, in the past, I've voted in all, most, some, or none elections? And would I say that I was a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent (that question went through several variants/angles, including leanings, past performance, etc). Was I very interested, somewhat interested, not interested at all in VA politics...

And then came a question that, to, me -- a Deeds supporter -- sounded pretty ominous: "If the elections were tomorrow, would I vote for McDonnell or McAuliffe". Say what? The primaries aren't over; the fat lady hasn't sung yet. I settled for "undecided", in retaliation for that presumption. I also began to wonder which of the two candidates was testing the waters; this wasn't coming from some disinterested, objective observer.

And then came a slew of questions which were as obvious in their bias as they were convoluted in their formulation. "Some people would say that...A, while other people would say that...B; which is the closer to your own opinion?" What's wrong with just the question, without the "some people say" bit? And the questions themselves...

How do vague "family values" compare, as issues of importance, with solid things like "jobs", "healthcare" and "education" (not to mention a slightly fuzzy "environment")? My BS antennae went up in a hurry, but I was still unsure; the questions jumped from subject to subject, all over the place. One minute it was issues, the next she wanted to know my position on abortion and gay marriage, then my level of education, then it was "would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate, if you heard that...", then how often I went to church, back to trying to manipulate (would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate who was endorsed by...).

The penny dropped with the "...if you heard that a candidate..." question. It was a straightforward smear against McAuliffe, with a teeny seed of truth in it and a whole bush of weeds growing out of it. So I asked her if she were polling for McDonnell.

"No ma'am; we're an independent firm". "Because," I said "your question attacks McAuliffe with something that's not, exactly, true". "It's a hypothetical question, ma'am" she said. At which point my evil, warped, sense of humour kicked in. "Do you have a comparable hypothetical question, attacking McDonnell?" "No ma'am".

From then on, it was all fun; where before I tried to give honest, moderate and well-balanced answers  (in line with my zodiac sign), now I went hog-wild; listened to the questions just carefully enough to detect the desired skew and let fly in the opposite direction. Taxes, taxes, I want more taxes; on general population, and on businesses, with no respite; don't even think of taking a penny from any of the existing programs. You bet I feel strongly about card check and don't talk to me about that misleading canard about the "right to work". Lots of gun regulation, absolutely. What? Yeah, sure, we have guns in my family; for hunting; don't need an AK-47, do I?

Only once did I bit my tongue a little. When she asked how much weight -- on a scale of zero to 100 -- I'd attach to an endorsement from Roberts (Robertson? The Regents school of law?), I just said "zero" instead of "they let that blond bimbo, Monica Goodling, graduate; that's all I need to know about their level of intellect". For all I know, the young lady is a blonde herself, and working her way through Regents; why gratuitously hurt her feelings?

We ended with her -- quite heartfelt -- "thank you for your time, ma'am; have a blessed day", to which I responded "thank you, and the same to you", which, in turn, wrung a startled "thank you!" from her.

What a wonderful way to start a weekend; haven't had that much fun in months :)


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I've been polled! | 12 comments
sounds like testing lines of attack
interesting that they asked for you by name -  have you voted in any Repub primaries, Dem primaries, or only general elections?  Wondering what lists they were using.

This is my world and welcome to it

I used to vote
in general elections only. But, for the past 3 years, I have been working at the polls (officer of elections). Since I'm there anyway, it takes no extra effort to vote in the primaries, and I have. Usually in the Dem ones but, once, I voted in the Repub one.

That time, we (Dems) had no primary but Repubs had one. And, one of the Repub officers of elections -- a nice guy and fairly moderate -- asked me to meddle in theirs. Our guy had no chance in general but their incumbent was being challenged from the right (rabid right, in fact) and the guy's argument was "since you're going to have to live with one of ours anyway, you might as well pick the saner one".

So it's still uncertain how they have targeted me by name. But it seemed obvious that they wanted opinions of "everyday folk", since she went through a long list of "are you employed by any of the following", which went all the way from federal level Congress critters, down to the local level and ditto for parties, PACs and other politically-oriented institutions. I have a feeling that, had I answered "yes" to any of those, she'd have thanked me politely and gone on to the next person on her list.

One thing that I forgot to mention in my original posting... I did say that the questions were "all over the place" but forgot to say that it wasn't just that the questions didn't seem to be in blocks -- just as you thought you were done with a particular subject and moved onto another, there'd be question which, rightfully, belonged to the previous subject. But, in addition to that, there were some questions which didn't have anything to do with the Gubernatorial race at all, however tangentially.

The question which struck me particularly as not being "a propos" was one about volunteering. Would I say that I was very interested in volunteering for a cause or church but didn't have the time, was somewhat interested but didn't have enough information, wasn't interested at all. So I told her that I was very interested. So interested in fact, that I volunteered, at my local Free Clinic, 5-6 times a month (true).

This question sounded to me like they wanted to kill two birds with one telephone poll.

There's been a study, which Repubs bring up ad nauseam, which said that Repubs were more likely to volunteer than Dems. Personally, I have some reservations about that statement (every pro bono lawyer I've ever known was a Dem, for example), but I haven't seen the internals on that study, so... This sounded like they wanted to beef up that finding but, just in case it didn't quite work out, they built in a ready-made excuse into the question.

[ Parent ]
Could be
the RGA or another right-wing group gearing up for "independent" attack ads.

I always ask pollsters first...
...who they're working for, and they always say "a private polling firm." I say, yes, but who is employing that firm?  They are usually hesitant to answer, until I point out that they want me to give up my time to answer a whole slew of questions when they refuse to answer one single question of mine.  At that point, they usually reveal who's signing their paychecks.

Try that next time!

I've tried that too, Kindler. It almost always works.My wife and I got polled.
The live poll my wife and I got (separate calls, asking for each of us by name) asked just one question: "If the primary election were held today would you vote for Brian Moran". We both said "No". I told her I'd already voted for Terry.

Neither of us asked if she was calling on behalf of the Moran campaign since it seemed obvious because the only choices she offered were "yes" or "no". I'd guess it was some sort of internal Moran poll to estimate the actual NoVa numbers so they can determine if Brian might be able to get a large enough turnout on his home turf to counter McAuliffe votes in Hampton Roads and Deeds votes in Central/SW Va., possibly to figure out if Moran should reassess where to spend his limited TV add budget.  

[ Parent ]
thanks for the front page promotion, kindler; that's icing on the cake, after I had the fun of being polled and then relived it by writing about it.

I didn't press for an answer, because I figured I had answered it to my own satisfaction. It made no difference to me what the official name of the polling firm was or whether the money came from McDonnell's campaign, from Virginia Republican party or from the National Republican Committee. I'm sure they're all throwing money at this race, by bucketful; they badly need to show some victories here in VA, after the steady erosion of the past 3 yrs.

[ Parent ]
my wife got polled today
it was automated - press one, etc.   It was about VA Gov race, and also asked about Lt Gov race.  Knowing they are in the field, I suspect it was PPP.

This is my world and welcome to it

Prejudiced polls, but blogs and newspapers are also skewed....
Since you mentioned that you are a Deeds supporter, it reminded me that a considerable number of blog sites are also heavily prejudiced based upon the personal agendas of the person or people that control the blog site. Some bloggers seem to think that Deeds does not even exist and certainly do not metion that he was endorsed by the Washington Post over the Clinton munchkin McAuliffe and Moran.

"You betcha!"
But we admit we are.  Partisan political blogs are, by design.  We are proud partisans who are standing up for our values and our candidates.  We make no apologies for being a Democratic blog.  It is a Democratic community supporting Democratic candidates.  We push back against the media when they get it wrong and conservative pols as well.  

But we offer disclaimers whereas the so-called MSM purports to be "fair and balanced," while not so. You will note that here when we blog about the races, we state whom we are for so the reader can judge the article with that in mind.

Also, we welcomed Moran bloggers, but they favor primarily their exclusively Moran sites.

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

[ Parent ]
is precisely why I read Blue Commonwealth, rather than some other VA Dem blog; it is Dem-partisan, not a particular candidate partisan. All points of view are not only allowed but represented here, if not always in blog postings (diaries), then in the comments. True, sometimes the discussions seem to dissolve into kindergarten level fights (he did! did not! did too!), covering the same ground over and over an over again, but... I can live with that; I understand that, sometimes, passions take over :)  

[ Parent ]
I'd place a lot of weight on an endorsement from Regent
Anybody who got that should not get my vote.

Same goes for Liberty College

[ Parent ]
I've been polled! | 12 comments
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