Last night I got an amusing “push poll” telephone call from the Democrats about the Montana governor’s race.
From Wikipedia: A push poll is an interactive marketing technique, most commonly employed during political campaigning, in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. Little or no effort is made to collect and analyze response data. Instead, the push poll is a form of telemarketing-based propaganda and rumor mongering, masquerading as a poll.
The use of push polls as a political tactic has grown tremendously in recent years, as campaigns have realized that direct marketing calls on behalf of their candidates just don’t work. Depending on the political orientation of the receiver, honest political messages either “preach to the choir” or are summarily rejected. So the campaigns must rely on deceit to win votes.
I rather enjoy receiving a push poll call, especially from “the other side”, because it gives me insight into how stupid the political organizations think we are.
I always ask the telemarketer (usually a young, oh-so-polite female) if she can identify who commissioned the poll, knowing that the answer will be: “I’m sorry, but I am not allowed to know who is requesting this information – I just work for the XYZ Research Company.”
This call started out with the usual classification queries: do I consider myself a Democrat, Republican, or Independent? If I had to vote today, would I vote for Hill (the Republican) or Bullock (the Democrat)? Then came the obligatory effort to feign neutrality by asking a few mildly provocative questions about each party’s candidate.
And then the fun began. “Please state the level of your concern when you hear the following question: It has been reported that Rick Hill has supported euthanizing all senior citizens and wants to cut education budgets by eliminating cafeterias and making children eat insects for lunch in the school restrooms. Would you say you are very concerned, somewhat concerned, concerned, not very concerned, or not at all concerned?”
It’s tempting to “mess with” the caller. “Well, it depends on how much we have to spend on those insects . . .” But the girl on the other end of the phone is just a kid making minimum wage, totally oblivious to what she is doing, or why. I usually try to gently educate, but I can’t claim much success.
The “poll” questions are always multiple-choice. Just once I wish I could answer fill-in-the-blank. My answer would be: “How stupid do you think we are?”
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side