Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The mayoral surveys, aka smear campaigns, begin

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 8:13 PM

I love a good phone survey. (I'm also one of those people who has always wanted to be called to jury duty, yet never have been.)

So when my phone rang 15 minutes ago, and my husband told me the caller ID said "Opinion poll," I told him to give me the handset.

This automaton had no idea who was answering.

Joy of all joys! Not just a poll, but a poll given by a computerized voice representing Magellan polling services!

It started out generically enough.

How likely are you to vote in the upcoming mayoral runoff? Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Richard Skorman? Of Steve Bach? Will you definitely or just probably vote in the runoff?

Mr. Computerized Voice tells me he's going to share some information with me about the candidates (note the plural here). He wants me to indicate whether the information he tells me will make me more or less likely to vote for a candidate.

And then ... it begins.

"If I told you," he says — and I'm paraphrasing these lines, as my typing skills decrease when I can only use one hand —

That Richard Skorman is heavily supported and bankrolled by wealthy liberals in Denver and outside of the area ...

That Richard Skorman has supported pay raises for elected officials, including himself, and city employees ...

That Richard Skorman supports higher sales and property taxes ...

That Richard Skorman was a registered lobbyist at the Colorado state Capitol ...

That Richard Skorman is a committed liberal who has denounced the power of bigger corporations, yet he's an advocate for bigger government ...

That Richard Skorman is an advocate for homosexuals, sat on the local board of the largest gay rights group, and has said that domestic partnerships are a top priority ...

And then Mr. Computerized Voice says, "Now that you have heard some information about the candidates for mayor, who would you vote for?"

Candidates? Plural? Um, I think he completely forgot to tell me about Steve Bach. I suppose it's good that he didn't spend another five minutes glorifying Bach. I mean, that might have made this "survey" look too much like what it really was.

Oh, and one more thing? I was rather annoyed by the fact that Mr. CV asked me a whole bunch of demographic information "for statistical purposes only" (gender, age, and race) without giving me an "I'd rather not respond" option.

He did give me the option, at the very end, of being put on a do-not-call list.

Now, why would I want that?

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