Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adventures with pollsters

During the run up to the 1996 presidential caucuses, I had so many pollsters call that I gave up and just started a list and each time one called, I supported the next candidate on the list. When I got to the bottom of the list, I started all over again.

A few years ago I started messing with them. Asking me questions about a gubernatorial race one year:
Pollster: What's the most important issue? Is it the economy? Unemployment? Abortion? Blah, blah?

Me: None of those.

Pollster: What is your most important issue?

Me: Does a condidate running for office know and understand our state motto.

Pollster: That's intersting.

Me: Do you know what Iowa's state motto is?

Pollster: No.

Me: "Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain"

Pollster: That's a very good question to ask.

I've asked candidates that question, and surprise, most don't even know what our motto is.
This caucus season, we've been averaging 3 polls a night and last night was one of those lengthy multiple question polls that appeared to have been commissioned by Newt Romney but I'm not positive.

Many of the questions were just stupid but one stood out: "Which one of the candidates will get more done as president?" "Get more done?" My reply: They'll all get things done and most of what any of them get done will be to make things worse. Besides, they can't get anything done without Congress and don't get me started about "Executive Orders."

We settled that it was an invalid question and I refused to answer it.

One question was asked if I supported the position that a president had the authority to reject a Supreme Court ruling?
Me: The people have the right to reject court rulings and laws through jury nullification.

Pollster: But the question was regarding the president.

Me: Okay, if it was good enough for Andrew Jackson, when he told the court to enforce its own ruling, then I guess I can see the point.

Pollster: Do you support the president having the authority?

Me: (Thinking in my mind about separation of powers and the House of Representatives has the power of impeachment of judges) The constitutionality of a law should not rest solely on 9 black robed elitists.

Pollster: But about the president?

Me: Hmmm, okay. Yes I can agree on this point.
I just can't give them straight answers.

When asked if I described myself on a scale of liberal vs conservative, I replied that I was libertarian (small "l"). But he didn't have a space to put that in. Was I a Tea Partier? A Born-Again Christian?

What was my most important issue? The Bill of Rights and the Constitutional principle of Original Intent. He didn't have a space for that one.

He made the mistake of asking what I thought about Gingrich and a few moments later he begged me to slow down because his typing skills wasn't good enough to keep up.

After about 15 minutes we were done and I asked who commissioned the poll (as I always do) and he replied that he didn't know who commissioned it but from the way the questions were phrased...

I told him I had a good idea who as I wasn't a political neophyte, to which he laughed and I told him that the next poll he works on should have better questions. He agreed that this was not one of the better set that he's worked with. He said good night and I wished him a Merry Christmas.

On my next pollster call, I can now support the next one on my candidate list.

But Cain isn't on the running anymore.

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