Sunday, March 21, 2010

Annals of Non-Scientific Polling

. Sunday, March 21, 2010

I just received a robo-call from the Family Research Council asking me to participate in a survey. It went like this:

Robot: Are you a registered voter?

Me: Yes.

Robot: Do you have a favorable opinion of President Obama's government-run health care proposal?
(emphasis added)

I was stunned that they wouldn't at least pretend to be impartial. I'd read the Farley Family's experiences yesterday, but I wanted to see for myself, so even though I think this is a truly terrible bill (regardless of whether you prefer universal coverage or not), and even though I knew I was talking to a robot, I decided to try to pick a fight:

Me: Yes and I object to the question as asked.

Robot: Thank you for your time.

No follow-ups. If I'd been thinking more clearly I'd've said "No" to see if there were follow-ups as a test of Farley's theory. I'm hoping they call the wife later this afternoon so I get another chance. If any other readers get the same call, please respond "No" and let us know if they ask follow-up questions.

UPDATE: They called the wife's phone about 10 minutes later and she let me answer. This time when asked if I supported the Marxist take over of everything great about America I said "No". Were there follow-ups? Why..... yes! Of course there were. The next question was some variant of "Do you support abortion?" I said "No" and then the robot lit into a 30 second rant about how Obama pledged to Planned Parenthood during the campaign that he'd do everything in his power to eliminate all restrictions on abortion (which I think is untrue, but maybe not) and strongly implied, without directly saying so, that passage of the health care bill would lead to just that outcome. Then the robot asked if I'd be willing to contact my congressman about this issue and I said "Yes". The robot then helpfully gave me my representatives' information.

From the FAQ on the Family Research Council's web site:

Q - Is Family Research Council non-partisan?

A - Yes, Family Research Council is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit, educational organization that does not support, endorse or oppose candidates. As a 501(c)(3), FRC is able to spend an insubstantial part of its budget on direct and grassroots lobbying.

FRC's political action arm, called FRC Action, is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization with broader freedom under IRS regulations for lobbying, grassroots activism, issues advertising, and political engagement. For more information on FRC Action, visit

I didn't catch whether the robot identified itself as being from the FRC or FRC Action. I guess it would have to be the latter, right? In any case, I wonder how much money we could make by stripping "non-partisan" 501(c) organizations of their tax-exempt status. There are plenty of all ideological stripes, and I don't see why advocacy of any particular cause, whether partisan or not, should be subsidized by taxpayers. We could certainly use the revenue right now.


Annals of Non-Scientific Polling
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