The moment I said yes to the young voice on the phone, I knew it was a mistake. I thought I could give “a few minutes of my time” to take a survey, and the gal was just doing her job so I’d help her out. But I didn’t know what kind of survey, and I didn’t know it would actually take 20 minutes.
Of course, it was a political survey. I quickly figured out it was preliminary information needed to develop a campaign. It sounded like it was funded by a political party, not an individual. “If the election were held tomorrow, would you vote for “…and then a long list of candidates followed.
I’d never heard of most of them and said so. But I assured the surveyor that I always did my due diligence before I voted. I’m the OCD type that gets on the secretary of state’s website to read amendments in their entirety instead of just the language on the ballot, which can be misleading. I don’t decide whom to vote for until I read interviews with the candidates, then I make a list of my choices to take with me into the voting booth.
Most survey questions started with ‘if _______ said ______ would you vote for him?”
It turns out “I Don’t Know” was a choice. And that’s what I decided to go with, although the poor interviewer had to put up with my opinions. I asked if she could write down my thoughts. But no, there was no space for comments, just the usual “agree strongly”, “agree somewhat”, “strongly disagree”…
On a couple questions I actually gave a definite answer.
“I will curb inflation” was one phrase that was being considered for a campaign ad.
“No,” I said. “I will not vote for someone who promises something he/she can’t deliver. On the subject of inflation, I would vote for someone who said, “I will propose a bill that says all elected senators and representatives must pass Econ 101.” Oh, why not also throw in 102? Micro and Macro Economics.
Would I vote for a candidate who said such and such about his opponent?
“No. I don’t like mud-slinging. A person who does that is not someone I admire or want to represent me in Congress.”
I see campaign literature and ads as part of the resume and interview for a prospective politician. The job is to set policy that I must obey. Tell me you will do your homework, that you will read each bill before you vote for or against it. You don’t have to agree with me on all issues, but tell me you’ll do your best to make a well-considered decision. Know the meaning of compromise. That’s all I’m asking.
Of course, I told the surveyor all this. But there was no space to write it down. The box she routinely checked was the answer, “I don’t know.”
When the candidates get the survey results, they may believe I’m an apathetic citizen. Not so. They would know what this voter believes are important job qualifications if they’d JUST LISTEN.
If I get another call for a survey, I will not participate and merely say, “You are lucky I’m not taking up a few minutes of your time.”