Could You Repeat the Question?
While today’s news is mostly dominated by depression, in the form of finances, film, and the city of St. Charles doing its best to ban fun (no low-cost drink specials … seriously?), a particular event following a holiday meal with the family last night begs for comment.
In my family, dinners in January and October have long been interrupted by calls from news organizations or interest groups seeking to test the opinions of white, middle-class, Midwestern America. Traditionally, these calls are met with a stern rebuke by one of my parents, angry that family time is being interrupted, but last night, en route to a biscuit, I got to the phone first.
Most of the six questions were fairly straightforward inquiries relating to the upcoming November election between Gov. Matt Blunt and Attorney General Jay Nixon, but one in particular caught my fancy (emphasis added):
"Do you support the right of law-abiding Missourians to purchase and carry concealed weapons?"
I asked the pollster to rephrase the question and she repeated it directly off her sheet. Shame. Such a question, immediately following the questions that asked about my party affiliation and opinion on abortion, couldn’t possibly have had the intention of pushing me towards one particular response. After all, what if I say no? Am I supporting the rights of non-law-abiding Missourians to carry concealed weapons? Because I don’t think anybody is such a big fan of that.
It would be stupid of me to believe that every opinion poll provides an accurate description of how the electorate feels about any issue. I just hope that everybody else who was up getting a biscuit at the same time recognizes where their responses go, and where those numbers end up.