Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Poll Vaulting

In some ways you have to feel sorry for telemarketers and pollsters. The poor schmucks are forced to read from a script and can't really stray from it. They also have to get as many calls in as possible. More calls means more contacts and more contacts means more results or sales. I question the logic of a mid-level manager making their telephone people work so fast as often the person talks so fast and with such monotone that they sound like the end of a radio commercial for an auto dealership. "Taxestagsandregistrationfeesareextra$200amonthleaseisbasedonhighercreditscoresthantheaverageperson
listeningtothissportsradiostationandrequires5thousanddollarsdownplusyourfirstbornsonifyoudonothaveasonto
tradeinthenyourspermwillbecollectedandusedtoourlikingwealsoreservetherighttogeneticallymanipulateyour
spermtocreateasuperraceofcarsalesmenandfasttalkers."

The problem, of course, is when such a person ends up getting me on the phone while I am in a slightly manic mood....

The week before we left for our trip to Florida, I received a call asking me if I had 10 minutes to answer a few questions about the upcoming election. It was my first political poll ever and I was excited to get my opinions heard on the latest national trackers. My hopes were dashed rather quickly when I realized I had a fast talker who couldn't deviate from his script. Here for your entertainment is the paraphrased conversation that we had.

Pollster: Are you a male between the ages of 26-50?

Me: yes

Pollster: Are you a permanent resident of Pennsylvania?

Me: yes

Pollster: On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 means very likely and 1 means very unlikely, how likely are you to vote in the upcoming election on November 4th?

Me: I don't know how to answer that, I've already voted by absentee ballot.

Pollster: 10 is very likely and 1 is very unlikely

Me: Well, it's not a matter of likelihood, it's a matter of certainty at this point.

Pollster (starting to realize he's run into some trouble): Excuse me?

Me: If you want to ask me how certain I am that I've voted in the election then you can put me down down as a 9, but that's only because I don't trust the postman- he can be cranky at times.

Pollster: well, we're asking how likely it is that you'll vote in the election coming up on the 4th of November.

Me: ..and I'm informing you that I've already voted since I will be away on the 4th and sent in an absentee ballot, so it's not really about how likely it is as it's already happened. Isn't there an option for already voted?

Pollster: No, you must answer on a scale between 1 and 10, with 1 being very...

Me (interrupting him): Yes, yes, I know, but since you can't seem to deviate from the script, we'll compromise and say that I am a 10 and I am very likely to vote in the upcoming election, even though it would technically be a lie.

Pollster (breathes a sigh of relief): Next question, on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 means very likely and 1 means very unlikely, how likely are you to vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming election on November 4th?

Me: Well, again it's not a matter of likelihood here as I've already voted for...

Pollster: CLICK

Me: Hello? Hello?


Guess, he felt he could hit his quota with someone less demanding. No wonder the polls are never very accurate.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

People just don't have a sense of humor sometimes. You would think they would welcome a distraction to their boring day.