Saturday, October 16, 2010
This is an interesting political season and with that comes the surveys and poll telephone calls. It seems that every election they become more frequent and annoying. It used to be that I would kind of enjoy getting these calls. My thinking was that I am important enough to garner a questionnaire from Gallup or some other big surveying name. Oh how wrong could I be? All that answering one poll does is open you up for calls from 5212 other polling companies.
I now receive about six calls a night from these survey or polling places. It is driving me insane. With that let me explain what I believe are the problems with these polls.
First off, polls have no bearing on anything. What I mean is there is no honesty required. So a person could say anything on the poll and do something else at the election polling booth. For example, I am pretty set how I am going to vote. So I like to "play" with the pollsters. I might give them answers that are totally contrary to what I believe. I think that gives the Dems a "big head" and maybe they won't spend so much money on television advertising (It is a dream, I know).
Next is the cell phone factor. I know A LOT of people who no longer have a land telephone line. The pollsters do not usually call my cell phones and if they did I would hang-up or not answer because I am not going to pay "minutes" charges for somebody to ask me a bunch of questions. I don't have the exact numbers, but I would be willing to bet that if you eliminate a whole class of people (those without land lines) your poll results would be inaccurate. What about the folks with no phone at all? In these poor economic times I believe that may be skew your results a bit. I mean I would rather have a meal than a telephone wouldn't you?
Next is the questions. The folks on the other end of the phone do not live in Colorado and no nothing about politics. They are reading from a script. They always pronounce the names wrong (including mine). Do you remember the first time you heard the name Hickenlooper? They will get the party incorrect or attribute an issue with the incorrect person. More bad results.
Lastly I get these calls from people who are promoting an issue and they only want to promote the issue. I often try to start a dialog with these folks and argue with their positions, but it doesn't work. They are reading from a script. They know nothing about the issue, the call was intended to be a monologue not a dialog. That frustrates me and I hang up.
So as you read the polls, remember that they are not real life. Question their accuracy and take the only poll that really matters; the one on November 2.