Saturday, January 28, 2006

I Was Polled Today

Chabot 0, America 2

President George Bush and Congressman Steve Chabot

I picked up the phone, which normally I wouldn't have done because the caller ID on my trusty white cordless said "Unknown Name & Number". However my daughter is out with friends today and my "mom mind" went into overdrive so I went ahead and picked up.

I heard a recording and let me tell you; I despise recorded telemarketing attempts even more than when you get a live person shilling whatever. Again, I nearly hung up but just before I could press "end" I heard the male recorded voice say the word "poll" and my interest was piqued.

The recording went on to say that Steve Chabot supports President Bush's wiretapping of American Citizens and that this would be a two-question poll to get my opinion on the matter. It gave me a bit more wind up and then came the pitch.

Question 1 - Do you support President Bush's wiretapping of American Citizens?
Press 1 if you support
Press 2 if you oppose
Press 3 if you are undecided

I pressed 2 and it went on.

Question 2 - Would you vote to re-elect Steve Chabot?
Press 1 - if you would vote for Steve Chabot
Press 2 - if you would not vote for Steve Chabot

I didn't wait for option 3; I simply pressed 2. The recording thanked me for my time and participation then the call disconnected.

Now I wonder how many polls I've missed because I routinely screen calls by Caller ID. I wish I had paid attention to the recording to find out who sponsored the poll. This also got me to thinking about all I hear about polls lately and how they always seem to be one-sided. When I hear poll results reported on T.V. I usually have one of three responses.

1. Well duh? Why did you even have to poll for something so obvious.
2. What the heck? Who are these crazy people that would think that?
3. That's a stupid question? Why would they even ask that? I would have asked...?

In the back of my mind, I always wonder if the poll is legitimate, who got asked, why do I never seem to get polled, and lastly, who cares anyway?

Well since I finally got asked, I guess I can't say I never get polled because well, now I have been and I obviously care enough to write about this brief experience. Also the questions asked were pertinent to something I feel very strongly about. That still leaves me with "is this poll legitimate" and will my "vote" be accurately counted.

On this site regarding "How Polls Work", Mr. George Gallup himself has a simple reasoning for this.

George Gallup likes to explain it with his soup analogy. One spoonful of soup can accurately represent the taste of the whole pot so long as everything is well-stirred.

The stirring's the key. That's what introduces the random element that's so important to scientific sampling. Randomness, in turn, is what brings the laws of probability into play. And the laws of probability are what make accurate polling possible.

The site goes on to site an example using six-feet tall men and a graph that you are more than free to peruse, but I won't go into here however they ended their article on an interesting note that sent me a-googling.
"And that's why George Gallup has been able to call every presidential election within 3 percentage points since 1952."

'Wow, that's impressive,' I thought. Gallup Poll predicted the outcome of the 2004 Election? I thought one of the main contentions for proving election fraud was that the election results were so different from the polls that some tampering had to have taken place.

According to this USA Today article published Halloween, 2004, just two short days before the election, Gallup actually reported it was neck and neck; "49 percent to 49 percent" and the title of the article proclaims "Swing states lean to Kerry". Seems to me they didn't predict the outcome. They simply claimed it was "too close to call" up to nearly the day of the elctions and then patted themselves on the back saying "we knew it all along" when Bush won. The article also quotes an earlier polls where Bush was ahead. I suspect they would have done the same thing if Kerry had won.

So much for accuracy in polling. Or maybe the accuracy is dead on and the reporting is the problem. Not much of a surprise considering how right now we live in an America where the press is anything but free.

However corporate controlled media is a topic for another day. At any rate, Mr. Chabot did not get my vote last election time and he didn't get it today.

I wonder if today will make a difference?


  1. Damn, I never get the good polls. I always get the ones that ask for the woman of the house, because the world is dying to know which laundry detergent I prefer.

    I did get polled a few months ago about family friendly movies. The pollster tried really hard to get me to say that movies should be banned based on language, violence, and sex. I politely informed him that anyone that can't manage to censor what their kids see without government interference is too stupid to be a parent in the first place.

  2. Arrogant white guy here to check out your blog!


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