November 03, 2008

Forget the Bradley Effect. What About the "Get Off My Phone" Effect?

To say that Tuesday's election is long-awaited is a massive understatement. It's been called historic by most, and otherwise labeled the most important election in our generation by the many who take into account the controversial last few years, our economic struggles and continued challenges abroad. And while Democratic candidate Barack Obama is largely expected to end the day with enough electoral votes to ensure his capturing the White House, some are concerned the "Bradley Effect", a phenomenon showing voters are less likely to vote for a minority when in the booth in private than they professed to be when surveyed in public, will have enough impact to knock him off the pedestal. But aside from the presidential election, how many of us have lied on a survey, just to politely get it over with? I know I have, including multiple times this evening, just to get the pollster off the phone.

When a political operative somehow manages to get through our Caller ID and gets me on the line, the fastest way to get the call completed is to agree to everything. If I'm not in the "hanging up on them" mood, I always agree to every single thing they're proposing. Yes, I'll vote for that guy. Of course I am in favor of your proposition and measure. "In fact, my wife and I already voted by mail!", I told one hapless gentleman a few hours ago, much to his delight.

My underhanded evasiveness no doubt gets a checkmark on his clipboard, and with one stroke, he and his backers can put two more votes on the board, as they try to rally enough last minute support to push their person and their measures over the top. But to be honest, most of the time, I couldn't tell you one person from another, especially in the local races, and will be doing my research online.

So how often is this happening? Are pollsters around the country, and at the local levels, finding overwhelming support for just about every bill, only to see tomorrow's election results be swung the opposite way? As much as the political pundits may wonder if America is ready to have an African-American president after all, I wonder about the telemarketers hitting their numbers and wondering why things didn't actually go their way.

Don't worry about me. Tomorrow, I'll vote. And I am sure on how I'm voting for just about everything, before some last-minute cramming tonight, but if you called my house this evening, sorry if I misled you. It won't be the last time.