The phone rang Saturday morning as I chopped celery for potato salad. Rasmussen Reports, a national polling firm was calling. Or, at least, their automated polling machine was calling. Would I take a few minutes to answer questions? The data would be distributed to "television and radio stations," the female voice told me.
Sure, I said. I read references to Rasmussen's results all the time on national political blogs, so I was curious to see what questions I'd be asked.
With one exception, just what you'd expect, questions like: If the election were held today, would I vote for Barack Obama or John McCain? Which candidate would I trust more to handle economic problems? National security? How positive is my view of Sarah Palin (punch a button, 1-5)? Joe Biden?
But then came the Vermont question: If the election were held today, would I vote for Jim Douglas or Gaye Symington? I waited for the third name. Nope. As far as Rasmussen is concerned, only two candidates are vying for Vermont's governorship. With Anthony Pollina's name left out, Rasmussen's results won't be meaningful, I'd think.
My home phone number has been randomly selected by pollsters over the years, but this was the first time the questions were automated and I had to respond by pressing numbers on the phone pad. It's not a perfect system. In one case I tapped the wrong button, and I'd think that would happen fairly frequently. I shouldn't have tried to keep chopping the celery, I guess.
-- Candace Page