Monday, October 30, 2006

You Got Surveyed

Last week Don Boudreaux blogged about his wife’s experience with a telephone survey in which she was asked to pigeonhole herself as either “conservative” or “liberal.” I had a similar experience myself on Saturday. Among many other things, my surveyor asked:
• ... whether I was a Democrat or a Republican. (I volunteered “neither.”)
• ... after she confirmed that I’d voted in the 2004 presidential election, whether I had voted Democrat or Republican. (Again, I volunteered “neither.”)
• ... after she confirmed my intention to vote in the upcoming election, whether I planned to vote Democrat or Republican. (When I again volunteered “neither,” I was asked to pick one. “Just say which way you lean,” she said. I can’t recall which I chose.)
• ... whether I considered myself very liberal, somewhat liberal, somewhat conservative, or very conservative. (After confirming that those were the only options, I reluctantly chose “somewhat liberal,” mainly because of my annoyance with the current Republican administration.)
I may be misremembering the questions slightly, but the overall tenor is just as I’ve described. As Boudreaux observes, if this method of polling is at all common, it necessarily understates the extent of support for libertarian viewpoints, as well as other viewpoints outside the left-right spectrum.

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