A survey phone call in disguise

Every month, I receive written surveys from the Republican Party, ACLU, environmental defense group, etc. that look very familiar. The surveys are the same each time, accompanied by an introductory letter telling me how I should answer the questions. But, the biggest tells are at the bottom of the surveys. That is where the fundraising occurs. Send us your money.

So, in essence, these are marketing and solicitations disguised as surveys. Surveying is hard as the entity must do its best to shave off any bias. Otherwise, the results are not worth the paper they are written on. In the case of these fundraisers, my guess is the survey goes to a lock box and then tossed, once the money is collected and sender codified for future fundraising.

Now, phone surveys are using the same process. Last night, I took a call and decided to participate in the survey. The questions were as expected about national and governor races, but it skipped over the US Senate race. When I was asked about a candidate not on my radar screen, that should have been a signal, as this candidate was apparently funding the survey. In this case it was a Republican state senator candidate.

What tipped me was leading questions which told me of her opponents’ stances on various votes taking those votes out of context or hyper-politicizing the stance. The surveyor was leading me to question why I should vote for the other candidate.

Once I heard about three of these spoon-fed questions, I stopped him and said this is a leading survey as you are telling me why I should not vote for the other person. Plus, you are taking a lot of these votes out of context and feeding me slogans. What you just said is a made up statistic, for example.

I said I am going to hang up now. I told you how I am going to vote. So, you need nothing further. And, you should know I am an Independent and former Republican voter. But, I am not voting for this Republican candidate.

20 thoughts on “A survey phone call in disguise

  1. Good for YOU! I nearly choked on my laughter the other day when I received a survey in the mail. The introductory letter began, “Dear fellow Republican”. Boy did they get that one wrong! The survey was multiple choice, about 6 pages of questions, and at the end they requested a donation, of course. But, not just ANY donation … they wanted $1,000!!! I filled out the survey quite honestly, and at Miss Goose’s suggestion (the girl is as devious as her Grannie!), enclosed a piece of paper the size of a cheque with an emoji ‘flipping the bird’. Then, I returned it in their post-paid envelope! Gotta have a bit of fun sometimes, right?

      • Thanks David. They certainly got more than they bargained for. Are politics as hyper-partisan there as they are here? Keith

      • Strangely not really. Wuhan Virus, massive bushfires and Chinese bullying have connected a bipartisan national purpose. However, some ‘shots in the foot’ by one party have provided some comic relief.

      • David, it is nice to see a coming together over a common urgency. Most Americans come together in spite of our leaders, not because of them. Unfortunately, the ones who don’t get too much press. Keith

    • Jill, I have filled a few of them out, writing in the margins. But, my guess is it was tossed. The ACLU and environmental defense surveys disaspointed me as well, as I would like to participate in an unbiased survey on those subjects.

      Thanks for sharing your response. Keith

    • Marilyn, true. Any company that cannot take the time to talk with me with a real person gets no and deserves no time. I am also not a fan of professional fund raisers, who garner 60% to 90% of the donations. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: The above example indicates why it is important to consider the source of all surveys and polls. Surveys can be biased in many ways:
    – how was it conducted? Was the larger data set representative of the population? Was the sourcing even enough to get a representative sample!
    – are the questions worded without bias with representative choices that evenly weight the strength of agreement or disagreement?
    – is the sample size large enough to narrow the width of standard deviations?

    This last point is key. The median of the poll results before the 2016 had Clinton winning, but the standard deviatons revealed Trump could win. Tracking this pre-Comey announcement ten days before the election showed even the standard deviation showing Clinton would win. Post Comey announcement, the polls tightened.

    • Thanks Hugh. You are wise. I am expecting a call from someone about a reference for an old colleague. Otherwise, I would have passed. Since he got me, I decided to see what he had to say. Keith

  3. Hello Keith. Sorry I am late to the post. What you describe is called a push poll. It came into prominence during the Bush / McCain primary, where Bush hired people used it against McCain.
    Today I read where the tRump campaign admitted their requirements for preregistration for rally events were designed to data mine the people responding. It seems the game is to get as much information about every person they can, to target advertising and money request to. It is a sick and disgusting system in my opinion. Hugs

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