by David Safier
Whenever I get a phone call asking me to take a survey, I sit down, put my feet up and enjoy myself. Love telephone surveys! Even Republican push polls, which get me laughing uncontollably and giving exactly the answer they don't want.
A few nights ago, half way through a phone survey, the questioner asked if I would participate in a CNN survey after the debate. Oh yeah I would.
Ten minutes after the debate, I got the call. This time it was tougher. How do you answer some of those questions? Did Obama do better or worse than you expected? Well, I expected him to do very well but was scared to death he wouldn't. I asked if I could say he met expectations. Acceptable answer.
Finally came the question, are you more likely to vote for Obama after the debate than you were before? The correct answer was, "You're too late, I already mailed in my ballot" (and besides, nothing could make me more likely to vote for Obama since the likelihood was already 100%). But I couldn't say it didn't change my mind, because that sounds like I think he didn't do well. So I answered Yes, I'm more likely to vote for him now than before the debate, adding a silent addendum clarifying my answer to myself.
Polls are funny. At least half the questions don't allow an intelligent person to answer honestly, so I end up choosing an answer that will sway the poll in the direction I prefer.
Polls. Caveat emptor.