October 01, 2006

Polls - Now I Dislike Them Even More

I was just contacted by someone conducting a poll focused on the Anne Arundel County Executive race. I don't have any particular problem with participating in things like this, but I sure did today. The questions started out reasonably enough, but by the end the intent of the poll was clear. Smear George Johnson.

The final sequence of questions required answers like these:

  • Much more likely to vote for the candidate
  • Somewhat more likely to vote for the candidate
  • Somewhat less likely to vote for the candidate
  • Much less likely to vote for the candidate

I had probably 4 or 5 questions to answer about Leopold, then the same amount for Johnson. All of the Leopold questions were bright and sunny. Leopold cut taxes, Leopold wants to reduce government size, etc. Questions about Johnson were essentially rigged. "George Johnson was fined the maximum for failing to report his campaign finances. Are you more or less likely to vote for him?" That's one of the kinder ones.

I told the pollster that I was not interested in finishing a rigged poll and that I wanted to know who was getting the polling info, but somehow he convinced me to just finish without having to answer the final questions one way or the other. I was dumb enough to give him my first name at the end. I'm not on the phone that much these days and my level of awareness when so engaged is not what it should be. I'm none too happy about this decision, but hopefully it will not matter. I basically came out looking fairly positive for both candidates given the nature of the questions, so I doubt they can do an awful lot with the information I provided at least.

The moral of the story is not to trust any polling data coming from anyone promoting Leopold (probably a no-brainer anyway on either side of the isle.) Please let me know immediately if you see my name attached to anything at all and give me as much info as possible if it happens.

When contacted by pollsters in the future, what kind of information should I demand before proceeding? Are they required to indicate affiliations or anything like that, or am I basically on my own if I choose to cooperate? Any other tips?

Posted by Andy at October 1, 2006 04:14 PM to the Politics category

I saw your name on a poll asking to make blue cheese the official dressing of MD, and Clay Aiken the President of Pasadena.

Posted by: Jon Hall at October 2, 2006 12:36 PM

Those are okay. I'm all for blue cheese and Clay Aiken. He's dreamy or something!

Posted by: Andy at October 3, 2006 06:08 PM
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