Day’s Verse:
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.
Ephesians 6:13-ish

Robo-poller: This is the National Marriage Organization for Marriage calling to poll you on your views of marriage.
Me [Thinking to myself]: Hang up? Nah, what the heck, I’ll be a statistic.
Robo-poller: Do you believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman?
Me: No.
Robo-poller: Are you male?
Me: No.
Robo-poller: Are you over the age of 50?
Me: No.
Robo-poller: Thank you for your time. [Click]

And that was the end of that conversation.

Another robo-poller wanted to know my opinions on the national debt crisis (even this wording screamed “Republican poll!”), and said I would get a FREE two-day cruise in the Bahamas just for answering 30 seconds’ worth of questions. I declined to participate by hanging up, but really I need to just take the phone off the hook, because by the end of the day it’ll be six more polls or political ads.

I am grateful that our lack of TV spares us from the worst of the TV ads, though. And listening almost exclusively to NPR insulates us from nasty radio ads. Some people would suggest that it also insulates us from the “fair and balanced” views espoused by those worthies to the right of us on the political spectrum. Maybe so, but most of the NPR shows work to get real, serious experts from both the Republican and Democratic camps when evaluating the political situation.

I hope I’m not burying my head in the sand too much, but realistically, studies have shown that we choose to believe what we want, and then find evidence to support that belief. Contrary evidence may crop up, but often contrary evidence actually reinforces a belief. So I have to accept that my views are biased, that I’m seeking news outlets that fit my worldview, that I can’t make a truly bias-free decision, and I have to try my best to overcome that by deliberately being open-minded. Which is not to say that I’d choose to vote for Newt — but that’s a whole different ball o’ wax.

3 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season for Polling

  1. It IS tough – and sometimes the research really does only verify what you’d already thought. I have a few friends, for instance, who support Ron Paul, and are tired of him not “being taken seriously.” For their sake I made some effort to take him seriously, read about his positions, etc. but it’s mainly served to convince me that he’s about as out-there as I’d thought before, and my odds of voting for him are unchanged.

    But the important step is to do the research, I suppose. I may think similar things to what I thought before, but the process of engaging and trying to learn is a far better route than just restating a prejudice or first impression.

    Everyone still has a filter, obviously, on what they choose to bother to research. That hurdle is the real trick to overcome – getting people (and oneself) curious enough to make an initial effort.

  2. Maybe my personal bias blinds me, but it sure seems to me like right-wing media (like Fox News) is pretty biased, while the “lame stream media” such as NPR are pretty objective. I try to read viewpoints from both sides of the fence but sometimes the conservative stuff is so bad that it just seems totally pointless. Why should I spend my time reading something that presents a viewpoint based on one falsehood after another?

    The thing is, I can just image a conservative listening to NPR and saying the same thing.

    Still, I don’t think it is true that both sides are equally biased. But, maybe that is just my bias speaking…

  3. As someone who works for a polling company (though not the type that makes these kinds of calls), I would like to apologize for that Robo-poller being so sexist and age discriminate. 😉

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