Friday, July 06, 2007

I received a telephone call from a pollster

I'm usually happy to participate in polls. When the poll taker asked if I planned on voting, I did tell her that I was running for office. She then went on to ask about my positions on several local issues, including HS and the smoking ban, followed by some questions regarding who I was planning to support for mayor. (probably Kelty, but some Libertarians will be voting for Henry)

She asked a question regarding what I thought of Kelty keeping mum on who paid for a poll, so I responded by asking her who was paying for the poll that she was conducting. She said she didn't know. That is probably true. The results are less likely to be skewed if it is a double-blind survey.

At the end of the survey, I was asked if I leaned Republican, Democrat, or independent. I mentioned that I was a Libertarian running for city council, and asked if "Other" was an option. She said no, sounded somewhat suprised, and said that concluded the survey. Now, I realize there is a limit to the number of possible political labels they can include in a survey, but just because one is not a Democrat or Republican does not make one an Independent. Polls should always at least include "Other" as an option.

I don't know if my results are going to be thrown out or not. Pollsters often throw out results if there is reason to think that a respondent was giving random answers, but what if the respondent has a stake in the outcome of the poll? Next time I'll tell the polltaker upfront who I am.

Then again, with 27 people running for city council this year, city council candidates sort of constitute their own demographic group.


  1. Anonymous7:04 PM

    How exactly do they choose who to contact for polls like that?

    For some reason my home is never chosen. Telemarketers love to call us though.

  2. They dial Fort Wayne numbers at random. I don't know if they have a list of numbers that they don't call or not. Are there any business owners reading this who have been called on their business line?

    I think I get called once or twice a year by pollsters. Sometimes its about politics, sometimes it's about product research.

    You can get on the no call list for free now to avoid telemarketers, but polltakers are exempt from no-call laws. Last year I've had several telemarketers try to sell me robo-call services, which is illegal in this state.

  3. "Then again, with 27 people running for city council this year, city council candidate sort of constitute their own demographic group."

    Or their own clan.

    Before the primary, it seemed like all the candidates (regardless of party) should have rented a small bus since we were all going to the same events.

    It does build some sense of camaraderie among the candidates. You Libertarians missed out on the pre-primary round of forums but we'll make sure the bus stops at your houses this fall.