Being Heard

I just got off the phone with a “pollster.” I put the word “pollster” in quotes because I’m relatively sure that they were working for one of the campaigns in the Garvin/Wannemaker* race. They breezed through all of my thoughts on Republicans, Democrats, the presidential election, this issue and that one, and so on, then spent about 3/4 of the call asking “which criticism of Garvin do you believe to be most salient?” and the same for Wannemaker. Given how much less time they spent going over Wannemaker, I suspect it was either his campaign or his party that was funding the research.

I haven’t decided who I am voting for in the presidential election, though they left off Gary Johnson as a possibility (and he is the leading candidate in my mind). Notably, they didn’t leave the Libertarian candidate of the Garvin/Wannemaker race, which is another thing pointing to the fact that my responses there were very important.

They did it wrong, though. They asked whether I was going to vote for Garvin, Wannemaker, or Prince, but never asked me how strongly I felt about it (Wannemaker, not strongly). To gauge the effectiveness of various criticisms of Garvin, that seems to me a rather important tidbit. If I’m somebody who might change their mind, then that’s different from somebody that is already in Wannemaker’s camp. I’d think.

I also found it odd that they never asked about which positive issues, if any, should be focused on. I gave them a good run-down on Garvin’s and Wannemaker’s vulnerabilities as far as I was concerned (they never asked about Prince, except whether or not I’d be voting for him), but was never asked whether I think Wannemaker is right to focus on campaign finance reform or Garvin is right to focus on the Wannemaker’s support for gay marriage.

Maybe the questioning was actually more scientific than that, and had I answered differently on earlier questions they would have asked about that. Again, though, that’s where asking whether I am firmly a Wannemaker man or simply leaning in that direction.

They also wasted a question or two on asking whether I lived in a town of (insert five categories) and then later asking for my ZIP Code which would have told them that (plus, they called my landline, so they can reasonably guess where I live anyway).

The whole conversation was somewhat hard to hear due to the lack of good acoustics on their end. I could hear the questions other callers were asking bouncing all over the other side of the call.

The kid who made the call was hard to understand and couldn’t pronounce a lot of their names. I’m guessing he hasn’t been doing this long (he is, though, an American or a good facsimile thereof, if you’re curious).

I didn’t quite catch the name of the firm. I tried the backtrace the number that they called from, but had no success.

* – Yeah, these are pseudonyms for the senatorial candidates from Trumanverse state Arapaho. They may actually be congressional candidates, gubernatorial, energy commission, or some other big election. I’m not getting into specifics.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


    • Ooma, baby! We just signed started, actually. Prior to that, yes we did have a traditional telco landline (from which we got our number). Clancy doesn’t like extended calls using her cell.

    • Right-o! I get like three phone numbers, all sorts of services (no more calls from California State Debt Collection!), at a fraction of the price of the phone company. The Internet is apparently better for phone service than the phone company is. (Since cable ISP’s outperform telcos for Internet, I’m less than sure what we have those phone line thingies for anymore…)

  1. Good man for not hanging up. After finishing a poll (a blatantly Republican push poll, actually) several few years ago, the poor phone banker enthusiastically thanked me and confided that not only was it unusual to get a “live one” it was an even rarer pleasure to get someone who knew something about the issues and spoke in complete sentences.

    • I got lucky. Once I realized it was a professional call, I almost hung up immediately.

      But the guy said my first name*, which caught my interest. I was at least a specified target of the call, which meant that it might be something important**.

      * – Which, if they knew my first name, then they probably knew my address. So why not one but two questions about what kind of town I live in?!

      ** – More than once, I’ve missed out on legitimate deals because I dodged them trying to call me.

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