Last night, our phone rang, and an automated voice said: “Hello, you have been selected to participate in a brief political phone survey. For your participation, you will get two free tickets for a cruise to the Bahamas.” Sounds nice, right? So we agreed to participate (I say “we” because it was on speaker phone).
There followed about 6 questions, also automated, asking how we felt the Parties were doing addressing unemployment and budget issues in the Legislature, on a scale from 1 to 5, 5 being “really well,” and 1 being “not very well at all.”
We punched in our answers.
Then the automated voice said “Thank you! You will now be connected to one of our travel agents to arrange for your free trip.”
And the line then promptly went dead.
Was I surprised? No. How could any candidate or think tank or whoever sponsored this thing possibly pay to send the tens of thousands of people responding to the Bahamas? They couldn’t. So why promise?
Personally, I didn’t participate for the trip. Didn’t think I would get the trip. Probably wouldn’t have taken the trip even if it had actually come to fruition. I participated because I thought it was funny and I was curious. Also, having done a stint in college, at a call center, doing telephone surveys, I am sympathetic.
But if there is one thing my time as a survey peddler taught me, it’s that the results from these things are skewed to the point of being practically worthless. Take this survey, for example. Your pool of responders is limited to people who (a) actually thought they would get a cruise for responding, (b) aren’t paying close enough attention to realize there is no way they could actually win a cruise for answering less than a minute worth of questions, or (c) are bored and sympathize with phone survey solicitors having once solicited surveys themselves. And any or all of the above could give inaccurate or uninformed answers. So what’s the point?
The answer: I don’t know.
But I do know what your next question is: what Party originated the survey? Well, the questions were evenly divided between the two Parties, so you couldn’t tell from that alone. How to tell?
Well, which Party promises you something for nothing, gets your vote, and then does not deliver? Tells you what you want to hear to get you to do what they want you to do, then fails to come through on their end of the deal? Do any politicians do that? Do all politicians?
Give me your answers, and you could win a free trip to the Bahamas!!!