We got a call last night at 8:30 from an unknown (to me) number. My wife usually screens the calls when I'm not home, not answering any she doesn't recognize. I, on the other hand, would rather NOT be called every night for a week, so I usually try to answer the phone and ask the telemarketer/fundraiser/Jehovah's Witness1 to please take us off their list, as I'm not interested in whatever they're selling/supporting/preaching1. I was about to do the same when I realized what "Gallup" stood for on the caller ID.
Yes, I got polled by the Gallup Poll last night. It was actually sort of fun. I took my time and tried to answer objectively and honestly. I swallowed knee-jerk reactions when they asked questions about whether I considered that the media coverage of Sarah Palin had been Unfairly Positive, About Right, or Unfairly Negative and gave them my well-considered answer2. I smiled when the poor girl on the other end explained that the U.S. has a system of checks and balances between the three branches of government, and asked me to rate my faith in the Executive3, Legislative4, and Judicial5 branches as they stood today. I tried to look beyond my own job situation when asked whether I thought the economy and today's job markets were improving or declining6. It took me a little time to come up with what I thought was the biggest problem facing the American people today7, and a little longer to come up with the single best reason why I am planning to vote for Obama this fall8.
Not in all cases did my answers come off as "bleeding heart liberal", though. My opinions on the size/powers of the government9 and their amount of control/regulation of businesses10 differed from what I hear other Dems saying. I tried to be honest and represent my own opinions and views, rather than what I thought needed to be expressed to "convert" people for the upcoming election.
So anyway, I'll keep my eyes posted for the next Gallup poll results – I guess it'll be out sometime in the next few days. My voice will only comprise about 1/2000th of the overall results, and my vote this fall will be even less representative, but it DOES COUNT. In the meantime, I'll continue to look at all the issues and all the coverage, and make my own informed decisions about what is important to me and who best can represent my voice over the next four-to-eight years.
1Actually, I've never had any Jehovah's Witnesses call me on the phone. Had a few stop by my door, but I sent them on their way politely after I figured out what they were trying to talk to me about.
(The answers below are my opinions – they may not be yours. Don't worry, we can still be friends!)
2I finally answered unfairly positive, as I've yet to hear anything really investigative about her platform and what her policy stances are for this election. I guess that may change now that she's been tutored on foreign policy? I decided to ignore the "dirt digging" as that has occurred to every candidate, but it still seemed a lot of the media was focusing on the wrong issues and viewing her through semi-rose-colored glasses.
6Still declining, although I believe not as badly as earlier this year. I keep hearing of lots of job openings for engineering work, but my overall impression is this is not a good time to be out on the job hunt. And as for the economy, who can deny that we're in a recession right now? My meager investments/savings certainly are certainly complaining loudly.
7I finally settled on the current administration's attempts to limit the civil liberties of American citizens, including but not limited to things like attempting to limit access and right to birth control, forgiving/justifying wiretapping without a warrant, setting aside habeas corpus protection for both citizens and noncitizens declared by the executive branch to be “enemy combatants", etc.
8It's a combination of the fact that my opinions align pretty well with his own stances on the issues and my feelings that he will probably be the candidate most likely to actually achieve (or at least make progress) on some of his goals on the issues where my priorities are aligned with his own.
9Government is too big/has too much power
10In most cases, regulations on businesses are about right or too high