Polled twice in 24 hours in North Carolina
I always answer my phone when a pollster calls because I have found that by participating in polls, I can learn a lot. Indeed, over the years, I have been able to give several local candidates a heads-up on what issues they may expect to be challenged because of the questions in some public policy poll I had participated in.
On Friday evening, I was called by one of the major national polling firms, Public Policy Polling. It was an automated poll. It asked my party identification, if I had already voted and, if not, how likely it was I would vote on Tuesday. The questions included my preferences for all the statewide races on the ballot – a U.S. Senate race and all North Carolina constitutional offices, including governor.
After asking my choice for president and statewide offices, PPP went on to ask how conservative I considered myself, how conservative I rated each of the four Republican presidential candidates, and how favorable my opinion was of each candidate on a five-point scale. I was then polled about my hypothetical choice in all possible combinations of a two-candidate race.
On Saturday morning, I was polled by a firm I did not recognize, but the phone number was from Greenville/Spartanburg in the South Carolina upstate. It was also an automated poll and the qualifying questions were similar to those used by PPP – age, gender, had I voted early, and who my choice was in the Republican presidential primary. There were no questions about the other contests on the N.C. primary ballot
I suspect that this poll was commissioned by one of the presidential candidates, because it did not ask about the other contests on the ballot. Also, this second poll went on to ask a series of questions about my knowledge of the incidents which had taken place recently at campaign rallies. When I responded that I was aware of the incidents, I was asked if I had seen the video footage of confrontations. Then the questions shifted to how I viewed the role of a candidate's campaign rhetoric in such incidents. These were not push poll questions; the poll did not lead with questions about the confrontation. Such questions came past the horse race questions, which is often when respondents will have hung up. Nor was it even stated in the first question on this issue at which candidate's rallies there had been incidents. The gist of the questions seemed to be what a candidate might want to know when wording a public response to such incidents.