Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Well, That's A Second.

About 11 years ago I picked up the phone, and it was a national poll. The caller was a live person, and the questions were rigged in such a way that unless you were the muzziest-headed liberal in the universe, your answers made you out to be the bad guy. One question after another began with the premise that such-and-such an issue had been brought up by the Democrats but opposed or blocked by the Republicans, and just about every single one of those assertions was simply not true. For instance (and this was NOT actually one of the questions, but close) it might go like, "Democrats have proposed legislation, opposed by the Republicans, to ban the cooking and eating of babies for breakfast in the halls of Congress. Do you support the Democrats or the Republicans in this issue?" See? I was not going to reply that I supported the Democrats, but if I stated I supported the Republicans, it meant I was in favor of babies being eaten for breakfast. There was no third option of "don't know."

In several instances, the initiative purported to be proposed by the Democrats but blocked by the Republicans was, in fact, a Republican initiative that the Democrats opposed, but the American people supported. Time after time, when the caller would pose the question, I would say, "But that's not true!" Alas, that was not one of the acceptable answers. There was no way to win.

I asked the caller on whose behalf this poll was being conducted, and she either could not or would not tell me. She said that she worked for a company that was contracted to make the telephone calls, and when I said I could guess which political party had commissioned the poll, she owned up that she probably could guess that too. She was very nice... but egad, what a rigged poll that was!

Fast forward to 2011. This evening I received an automated call which immediately identified itself as conducting a poll for the Rasmussen Report, the results of which will be available at Rasmussenreports.com. The poll questions were recorded, with prompts to press 1 or 2 for the answers. Most of the questions had to do with economics, and even to my jaundiced ear, were not in the least bit weighted one way or the other. For instance, did I believe the US economy was currently great, all right, not so good, or terrible. Another: Did I believe the economy was heading in the right direction, or the wrong direction. Another: Did I believe the US is currently in a recession. Since I answered yes, the next question asked whether I believed it would be over within the next 6 months, or would it go on longer.

So now I've been nationally-polled twice. Very, very different experiences.


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