’Tis the season for telephone polls, and earlier tonight I got a call from one of the poll robots. A lot of the time I hang up on the pollsters, because I don’t have the time or the patience to sit through all the yap-yap. But tonight I was in a mellow mood for some reason, so I went ahead and answered the questions.
For quite a few years now all the political polls that come in to Schloss Bodissey have been fully automated. This one wasn’t a robot voice, as far as I could tell — they’d actually hired a woman to record all the questions and all the numeric options for responses — but there was no human being on the other end of the line during the call.
Strangely enough, it didn’t begin with “Para continuar en español, oprima nueve.” That’s what I get when I talk to the electric company, or the bank, or the credit card company, or the phone company. Could the polling company’s algorithms tell from my south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-Line “Hello” that I was a native English speaker from the South — a moderate rebel, as it were?
Anyway, the digital voice launched into its spiel. It gave the name of the polling company, and said it would like to ask me a few questions. I pressed “1” to continue.
It said, “First of all: Is this Edward?”
Well. I tend towards paranoia, but I also assume that I have no privacy left. So I pressed “1” to tell the robot lady that yes indeed, I was Edward. But the thing is, anyone who calls me “Edward” doesn’t know me. That’s what tells me to hang up immediately when a salesman calls and asks for Edward. So wherever this polling company got the connection between our number and Edward, it wasn’t a from a friend of mine.
From there on, however, I lied. It’s my policy to lie to pollsters. I don’t want the social engineers to get an accurate reading of the pulse of the American public. I don’t let them know how I feel until I actually enter the voting booth.
If you feel the same way, I recommend that you lie to pollsters whenever they call.
I strongly approved of Hillary Clinton and most of her policies — minimum wage, health care, taxing the rich at a higher rate, etc. etc. I strongly disapproved of Donald Trump and all his hateful xenophobic racist policies.
But I didn’t punch the button for the exact opposite of my opinion in every case. I varied it a little bit (mostly by pressing “3” for “it doesn’t matter”) just to randomize the result.
But then, when the robot reached the end of its (her?) list of questions, it told me…
… that the poll had been sponsored by Donald J. Trump for President. Wotta gag!
But, seriously, think about it — if I had been a municipal employee, or a teacher, and the robot already knew who I was, would I have told the robot I supported Donald Trump?
Unless I was totally brain-dead, I would know what happens to people who publicly reveal their support for Donald Trump. They lose their jobs. They’re referred to mandatory counseling. They get beaten up. Someone phones in to the school and threatens their kids. They get a brick thrown through the windshield of their car.
That’s why I don’t think any of the polls are accurate. Even if the media are commissioning truly representative polls and reporting the results accurately, they aren’t taking the real pulse of the nation. Because a prudent voter will lie to the voice on the other end of the line if he holds anything but the pre-approved, politically correct opinions.
As for me, I lied on principle.
I don’t have to lie out of self-interest. I don’t have a job to lose. I live in a very red county in a very red region, where people own 4x4s and chew tobacco and say “ain’t” and “y’all”.
And everybody — and I mean everybody — owns a firearm. Or several.