That kind of chicanery, whether Trump-blatant or Democrat-manipulative, has no place in legit polling practices. And yet it is, in fact, the entire point of many polls. Called "push polling," these operations maintain only the thinnest veneer of objectivity, while their real purpose is to influence opinion, not record it. It has a long history in politics, right up through this year's primaries, when South Carolina Republicans received an automated polling call that berated them if they chose anyone besides Ted Cruz. Who could possibly be behind such a thing? It seems pretty obvious ... Someone trying to make Cruz look bad! At least, that's what Cruz himself said, and he has such a trustworthy face.
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"I can assure you that staffers are not hanging interns on meat hooks for the feast of the Elder Things behind this door. That's a promise. #TrusTED."
According to Ron, push pollers are about as seedy as they sound. And not only has he never done what they do, but his company also wants nothing to do with anyone who does. "They would rent a room in a hotel and hire a bunch of temp employees to make calls with cheap cell phones," he says. "They don't need to match quotas, or store or analyze data, so they don't need the expensive hardware and software or staff training a real polling company needs."
A push poll may be mostly indistinguishable from a legitimate poll, but there are a few tells. "A push poll will typically be done in the days immediately prior to an election and have no demographic questions," Ron explains. "The poll will then go on to ask you questions that make one side look good and the other side look bad. The [pollster] may not even be recording your answers, because they are useless."
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Maybe the respondent doesn't believe Hillary personally shot four dozen people now, but it's in their head.
Basically, listen for someone who sounds like they're making jerk-off motions while you talk instead of diligently typing your answers.