Thursday, March 31, 2011

mystified

Generally I'm happy to give it--whenever people call for surveys and polls I'll offer up my two cents' worth. Sometimes I like to mess with them (come on, who doesn't?), but generally I mess with them simply because I'm a mother of faith with a Master's degree and pretty liberal politics. Environment, poverty and health care rank high on my agenda; banning gay marriage, gun rights and crime aren't big problems--at least not the way politicians think they should be. I want women to have reproductive rights, I think immigrants should have equal access to jobs and education, I like President Obama, the government should spend less money, I think Sarah Palin's a shrew. These opinions skew against my race, religious beliefs, income and education level--I can practically hear the wheels turning when the pollster goes on to ask the next question.

So imagine my delight when I got called by the Gallup Poll people a couple days ago. The Gallup Poll--the pollsters of all pollsters, the cream of the crop.

Things started out normally enough--they asked what issues concerned me most (see: environment, health care, poverty, clean energy) and then Gallup asked me to rank "other important issues" on a scale of 1 (not at all important) to 5 (very important): gay marriage, abortion, crime, economy, blah-blah-blah.

Gallup moved on to gleaning my attitude about various people in the news, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Glenn Beck (really? Why him? Why not Jon Stewart? Oprah? He's nobody and I told Gallup as much, not that it registered because they only want my opinion within their perimeters--kind of like when I ask Mr. D if I look okay in a certain outfit and I only want him to say "yes").

Then Gallup began to ask me about religion. I thought I knew where this was going--they were trying to find a link between politics and church-goers. I replied that I attend church at least once a week, faith is important to me, I believe in God (or a higher being). (I tried to clarify that faith is very important to me, religion notsomuch, but again that probably didn't register. Pollsters do not appreciate nuance.)

And then?

Then it got weird.

Gallup wanted to know if I believed in angels. Hell. The devil. Ghosts. Spirits. UFO's. Life on other planets.

Really? UFO's? ESP? I kept waiting for them to ask if I believed in fairies, but they didn't.

And then I didn't even get to say what religious affiliation I was because it wasn't even an option--the closest I could get was "Protestant."

After exhausting the God/spirit/voodoo category, Gallup asked me to rank my feelings about the NBA. The NHL. MBA. NFL. What was my favorite professional team?

Spill it, reader. What in the world do you suppose Gallup was trying to find out? The link between Democrats who believe in UFO's and love hockey? I am stumped--and kind of rethinking my opinion about Gallup after this experience.


21 comments:

  1. What the Hey?!? I would have stopped it at Glenn Beck--who cares and you're waisting my time. UFO's would have put me over the edge! (Most days it's not a far walk)

    I love you for thinking palin is a shrew--I was so disappointed with her (seriously out of an Entire Country, she's the best they could come up with?!?...ugh!)

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  2. i don't know, but there is somebody out there getting paid a lot of money to come up with those questions so they can skew something some certain way.

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  3. Hmmm... maybe they were trying to figure out if you were a woman likely to be calling down the wrath of UFO's on the creeps accepting graft for college bowl games and parlaying it into illegal political donations? That's my best guess.
    Gallup. Wow. We only get the low-on-the-totem-poll garden variety pollsters calling here.

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  4. That sounds like an interesting survey. I usually don't even give them that much of my time. Every time I take my car to the dealership for an oil change even they call to do a survey on my visit. I just tell them everything was fine, I don't have time for a survey.

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  5. That's weird. I can't even imagine what kind of meaningful results they were expecting from a UFO and angels survey...interesting.
    You're better than me - I usually hang up on them.

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  6. Ooooh! They gave you so much to work with! I hope you really messed with their minds. ;)

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  7. when we used to do polling for the paper in-house, they would ask a whole range of questions not because they were looking for a link between topics, but because we were trying to get the most bang for our buck. so we'd think of four or five unrelated topics that we might want to write about, and asked them all.

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  8. Clearly, they were trying to measure the correlation between voodoo practitioners and the belief that Sarah Palin is a UFO.

    I got called by a polling organization last week. I eagerly agreed to go through the grinding half-hour of questions, but was horribly disappointed when they kept asking about the county election (which I don't pay attention to until a week before the election). I wanted to rant about our governor, but they never gave me the chance.

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  9. Sarah Palin gets on my last nerve. I cringe every time I see a picture of her. Ugh!

    What an odd survey. So you do believe in fairies, right? ;-)

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  10. even though i am a republican, i can't stand sarah palin. she's too weird for me. i don't do surveys, either but that one would have gotten my curiosity up. angels, demons, UFOs, and the professional sports teams? hmmm... wonder what connection they were trying to make. maybe, they were trying to see if you believed that any of those had anything to do with who won or lost.

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  11. ...??

    Did you jot down his ID number or anything? Those are some mighty odd survey questions. Did you have a "decline to answer" option?

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  12. This is fascinating. Umm ... maybe FoxNews is trying to develop some reality programming, and they think the supernatural would be a good fit for their demographic? But while they're paying for this survey, maybe you could help with FoxSports, too?

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  14. Faith healing Glenn Beck lovers who believe that Shaq came from a UFO. I guess they're marketing some sort of special mystical Kool-aid or something.

    A small contingent of the population, but if you need to know where they live, I guess you use a survey.

    If Gallup calls, I'm not home.

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  15. That is a bit strange. Usually you can get a feel for the survey, or at least by the tone of it. We don't do surveys because of Chuck's employment at a TV station. He can't, and mine are often thrown out because he works in TV.

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  16. That's pretty bizarre. We'll have to keep our ear open for poll results that mention how many people believe NBA players are aliens.

    I actually sort of like doing polls.

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  17. Maybe you had a bored pollster who was just messing with you! ;)

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  18. I think it was a roundabout way for Gallup to find out what kind of heirloom tomatoes you are planning to plant this coming summer.

    If summer (or spring, for that matter) ever shows up. :)

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  19. Perhaps they were measuring the patience of a republican vs. that of a democrat. Whoever continues answering questions until the end scores more points!

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  20. This is so funny! I had no idea what that was either. Really like your blog.

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    http://www.wilkinssolutions.com/playground.

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Spill it, reader.