Anyone who knows me personally, or who reads the blog, has probably picked up on the fact that I have strong and somewhat unorthodox political opinions. Tremble, then, in the knowledge that earlier this evening somebody called me up out of the blue and actually asked me about them in detail.

Yes, it’s true. I have been polled. The next newspaper article you read saying that X% of those surveyed approve of the President’s execution of his office, that X% may include my opinion.

In case anyone’s curious:

  • Bush gets a thumbs-down.
  • Congress gets a thumbs-down.
  • Governor Schwartzenegger gets a thumbs-up.
  • The California state legislature gets a thumbs-down.
  • All of the governor’s reform initiatives get thumbs-up.
  • Harriet Miers gets a thumbs-down.

Oh, and a number of questions on the poll were very poorly structured. For example, they asked me whether I approved of Bush’s performance on “taxes and spending.” Broadly speaking I approve of his record on taxes (cutting them) but strongly disapprove of his actions on spending (not cutting it). So how can I accurately respond to the question? The stuff on abortion was even worse. I understand that writing a decent poll is harder than it looks, but why oh why do they keep writing questions that are so obviously lumping together issues that are separable?

4 Responses to “Here's a sign of the impending apocalypse”
  1. Oscar Cwajbaum says:

    Wow, I agree with you on all six points (though probably for different reasons). I think the world’s going to come to an end.

  2. Kyle Haight says:

    Just think of it as becoming more sensible in your old age… B-)

    Either that, or the world really *is* coming to an end. How many signs of the apocalypse are there supposed to be?

  3. David Arceneaux says:

    I used to be an opinion surveyor for a company that had right-wing connections. I had the thankless job of calling people at random and asking them horribly stilted questions for upwards of 40 minutes at a time. We could not take “I don’t know,” or “I’m not sure”, for a first answer, and we had to stick to the script.

    I think the survey customers, that is, the ones who buy these questions, assert that the customer is always right, and the questions they’ve written are properly tuned to get the best possible answers, and the highest response rates. for their money. The questions end up being like George Lucas’ idea of the script for the ‘first’ set of Star Wars movies–big stinky and costly turds.

  4. Kyle Haight says:

    I’m certainly willing to believe that survey questions are often designed to get the kind of answers desired by whomever commissioned the poll rather than answers that accurately reflect the true divisions of viewpoints in the group being polled. It’s just frustrating, and it leads to people trying to guess the way the poll results will be used and give answers that will shift the poll towards being used in ways of which the questionee approves.

    Given the many flaws in polling methodology, it’s kind of a wonder that people pay attention to them at all.

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