(Guest post by Don’s wife Cathy)
Don normally delegates the job of answering the home telephone to me, and so I frequently find myself stuck in the role of the “meanie” turning down phone solicitations from the umpteenth charitable group remotely related to one I sent money to a month ago. During the past few weeks, however, as the Illinois primaries have drawn nearer, clan McClarey has increasingly been the recipient of politically-themed telephone calls. Sometimes, such calls present themselves honestly as campaign ads for (or attack ads against) one or another candidate for state or national office. At other times, however, I have been polled. If the pollster hears that I’m female (and they’ve already over-sampled female registered voters for that day), or that Don blogs about politics, the poll ends very quickly.
Last night, however, asserting that I was married to a blogger wasn’t enough to shoo the pollster away. From the way the questions were framed, it quickly became obvious that I had been contacted by a “push poll” for Mitt Romney. I wouldn’t have minded straightforward questions about my opinion of Mr. Romney’s stands on the issues; however, many of the questions consisted of one-liner attacks against Rick Santorum, and the answer choices were either:
did they make me think much more negatively about Santorum,
somewhat more negatively about Santorum,
or not change my mind at all?
I would have liked the option of saying that a statement made me think more positively about Santorum, or that a certain assertion just plain wasn’t true; however, the pollster wasn’t equipped to deal with anything “out of the box.” (And that “push poll” managed to ruin the retrogaming “Let’s Play” video I’d been recording for YouTube at the time of the call, too! 🙁 )
This evening, however, I had a much more pleasant experience being polled by Rasmussen. It was a “robocall,” and I never had to talk the whole time – just listen to the question and press the number on the phone’s keypad corresponding to my answer. Even better, it was very straightforward and even-handed: things like how likely I was to vote, how favorable or unfavorable a view I had of each Republican presidential hopeful (and of IL Governor Quinn!), and how likely I thought each Republican hopeful would be to defeat Barack Obama in the general election.
Would that all polls and surveys were so quick and unannoying! Once the current election cycle is over, I’ll just have to make do with fundraising junk mail masquerading as polls, and with avoiding eye contact with the ubiquitous survey-takers at shopping malls, such as the infamous ones from “Animaniacs:”