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  • Thursday, September 14, 2006


    Meaningless Surveys and False Polls

    I received a "2006 Grassroots Survey of Democratic Leaders" from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) a couple of days ago. It encapsulated so much that is wrong with the DNC, its approach and its relationship to people that I thought I'd share a little about it. Another blogger, Ronny Max, seems to have written out the "survey" and her answered questions if you'd like to look at it.

    It's obvious this "survey" is merely a front for the fundraising pitch at the end. Mostly, it is a way to cement views to the standard dichotomy of arguments between Democrats and Republicans on these subjects. In all cases where the choice is between a "yes" or "no" answer, the "yes" answer articulates the basic Dem position with strong and affirmative phrasing. The "no" answer describes, usually in bland terms, a relatively standard Republican argument.

    Only one question seems even remotely useful in actually soliciting "grassroots" input. The first question asks you to rank 10 issues in the order of importance to you. It even includes an "other" answer that you can fill in. This assumes, of course, that any "surveys" not containing money are tabulated at all. I doubt there are any laws that require the Dems to actually tabulate the answers at all. Oh, they probably do but, again, nothing says they need to pay the slightest attention to the results.

    On the last page is this statement: "To put your contribution to work immediately, please call 1-877-xxx-xxxx or visit". Yes, this says very clearly to visit the web site to put your contribution to work, but you might be excused for thinking an address ending in "/survey" might allow you to take the survey online or have some results of the survey. But the address redirects to "", a secure donation page to take credit cards and such.

    I perceive a strange oxymoron at work in the title as well: a grassroots survey of Democratic leaders? I am not a Dem leader or much of a grassroot. I'm only on their list because I donated $10 or $20 in 2004 to help defeat Bush. (Yeah, I wanted to beat Bush so badly I gave money to the Dems. It's not my proudest moment but I did it.)

    My point is that this is obviously a calculated appeal for money hidden behind a survey not intended to actually solicit opinion but dupe the reader who participates into investing time and energy and, hopefully, money after they've gone through the trouble of filling it out. The flattery of calling the reader a "local Party leader" seems cynical and false.

    I'm angry. I'm angry that the Dems, on a national level, are the only alternative to the Repubes (sic). I'm angry about the hollowness and cynical nature of the Dems. I'm angry that, so much of the time, they hold positions only marginally different from Repubs (and sometimes not even marginally different.)

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