In mid-September, a so-called “public opinion poll” was launched in our community regarding a measure that will be on the November ballot. This “poll” has angered many of the people who were asked to participate because of the negative and misleading nature of the questions.
As someone who is fairly knowledgeable regarding the ins and outs of survey work, this appears to be less like a poll and more similar to political telemarketing. Political telemarketing is legal; however, it should identified as such. When we are asked to participate in a survey, we the respondents, have a right to what is called “informed consent”. The people who conduct surveys, have an obligation to honestly inform us about the nature of the survey. Whether this particular “poll” was legal or ethical can and will be debated, but for me personally, it didn’t feel right. I felt misled and manipulated.
In the end, it’s up to us in our community to decide what our code of ethics is when it comes to politics, marketing, and research. What are we willing to accept in the name of politics? I for one expect transparency, honesty, and open conversations especially in our small and close-knit community. I am disappointed because I don’t feel this “poll” reflects those values.
In the spirit of transparency, here’s my opinion on the proposed construction excise tax: before the poll I didn’t know much about it and had not formed an opinion. After the poll, I am deeply suspicious of the opposition’s motives and am leaning in favor of the tax; however, I will conduct my own research and make an informed decision. I hope you will too.