Garbage In, Garbage Out

Garbage In, Garbage Out

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A robot from the Rasmussen Reports polling company called me. The landline has been ringing a lot lately—New York is closing in on this local primary like I’ve never seen it before, canvassers getting past the buzzer to knock on doors in the walkup, literature every day in the mailbox, and all the phone calls. I tell them I’m going to figure it out soon but at the moment I honestly have no opinion, can’t pretend to, won’t waste your time. Plus of course calls from the overseas boiler rooms trying to sell me pain pills or to scam me into a fake pain-pill shipping deal, whichever. 

The Rasmussen robot wanted to talk national politics, not local, and the scam was only the usual Rasmussen Reports scam of trying to advance Republican interests through ostensibly neutral opinion polling. I had fielded one of these before, out of curiosity about what they were trying to put across—that time, they’d asked me if the country was in a recession, a distinctly non-opinion question, so I pressed the button for “no”—and apparently that made me a live prospect, a genuinely reachable individual in the unreachable mass of the public, a representative American for the sample. 

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