I had a mystery solved over the weekend.
During the political campaign season, we’re inundated with information. The mailbox is packed with junk. I positioned our recycling bin between the mailbox and the front door so I can conveniently dump it before the information drop burns my eyes.
We also see a lot of surveys, and when people head to the polls, they prove to be fairly inaccurate. I don’t know about you, but I always wonder, “Just who the heck are they surveying.” Asking people their opinion is a lot more difficult than it used to be. We hear a lot of opinions, but most are unsolicited.
These survey companies always claim they called a representative sample of likely voters, and they come up with numbers who support each candidate. What I’ve learned in the last couple years, however, is that no one under the age of about 35 even answers their phone if it rings. Their communication is done exclusively through text messaging. I told the young people around my home that they really could just go back to pagers again, because their phone goes off, they look at it and maybe call the person back. That’s what I used to have to do in 1990.
We can cross them off the list of people being surveyed.
That leaves us old folks to shape the opinions of this great land. Most of us will still answer the phone when it rings, unless it pops up “SCAM LIKELY” on the screen. Some still have these contraptions at their home with a wire that goes into the wall, and they can talk on it, like they did in the old days.
I’ve never been subject to an opinion survey that I know of. I was cornered at a mall and asked what kind of soap I use once. When I’m done getting the run-around from my cell phone provider, they always send me a survey. I dutifully complete it, because maybe there’s a prize at the end.
I was making up for lost time in my recliner Saturday, and my cell phone buzzed. The screen said something to the effect of “Information Research.” I informed my wife to give me a moment or two. “I’ve been called into service for my country,” I announced.
I instantly knew two things: They need to know my opinions, first of all. I could tip the scales of public opinion. And I was an old person who answers the phone.
It started a bit shaky, but only because this research on the opinions of local races were calling me, I would guess, from somewhere that was not on the same continent as me. There was a delay and a slight communication gap, but I hammered home my points on a variety of subjects and candidates for state and national office. For several minutes, I dutifully answered “yes” or “no” when necessary, and ranked things like the economy, inflation, election security and President Biden on a scale of one to five.
I’d tell you my answers, but you’ll probably see them in the news soon. I’ll be identified as “likely voter, age 50-60.”
Unlike the cell phone survey, this one comes with a prize. This election will be over in a week.
Email John McLoone at [email protected]