Bad poll

I don’t mind participating in telephone polls. I like telling them how I feel, especially in an election year.

However . . .

The phone rang around 8:30pm last Sunday evening. It was a young woman calling from somewhere else in the USA (she had a vaguely Southern accent, and had no idea how to pronounce names like “Cicilline” and “Doherty,” so she certainly wasn’t local).

The first few questions were okay. Have you heard of the following, and how do you feel about them? Paul Ryan: yes, and strongly negative. Barack Obama? Yes, I think I’ve heard of the President of the United States, for whom I seem to remember I voted four years ago, and yes, I think he’s done well. Mitt Romney? Yes, and blech.

Then my pollster (who, poor thing, was only reading a script from her monitor) began subtly changing the script.

Here’s some background: our congressman, David Cicilline, used to be the mayor of Providence (I voted for him every time). He did a pretty good job, we thought, and we sent him on to Congress.

Then the city crashed. Turns out that David was using up rainy-day money to run the city, and now the city is a mess. The new mayor, Angel Taveras, has done a nice job of trying to pull the city out of its financial morass. But – and I hate to admit this – David, bless his gay / Italian / Jewish heart, had a lot to do with causing this.

But he has been an impeccable congressman for Rhode Island District One. He has upheld the Democratic agenda and helped the President, which is Job #1 as far as I’m concerned, especially when the House is dominated by the GOP.

Is he a saint? Not at all. Is he the perfect candidate? By no means. Is he doing the right thing in Congress? But assuredly.

Then, kids, I am for him. I don’t much care about what came before. All I care about is how he votes in Congress right this second.

David’s current opponent for the Congressional seat, Brendan Doherty, is a former Rhode Island cop who’s never held political office. He (with the assistance of lots of outside-of-Rhode-Island money) has made lots of awful commercials, in which he appears with his sleeves rolled up, ready to beat up rowdy Democrats and Communists (both of which he apparently anticipates meeting in the House of Representatives), telling us how his experience as a Rhode Island state trooper uniquely qualifies him to root out corruption in Washington.


Leaving aside the irony of someone claiming that, as a freshman congressman, he’d be able to do anything (does he think he’ll be patrolling the aisles of Congress in a policeman’s uniform, bopping people on the head with a nightstick if they don’t do the right thing?) –


So back to this telephone poll. “How do you feel about Bran Dan Doggery?” she asked me languidly. (As I said, she had no idea how to pronounce any of the Rhode Island candidates’ names.)

“Strongly negative,” I said.

“Did you know,” she said, “that Barack Obama’s health care plan will gut Medicare?”

“No,” I said, “and by the way, that’s a lie.”

“Did you know,” she continued, “that the enormous debt that Barack Obama has piled up – “

“Enough,” I said. “These aren’t statement of fact. I’m hanging up now.”

And I did.

I feel bad for the woman on the other side of the line. She sounded African-American, and if so, I can only imagine how uncomfortable she was asking these questions. (I know, I’m making assumptions. So sue me.)

That was a bad poll. It was a Fox News broadcast masquerading as a poll. It presented “facts” that were nothing of the sort, and then innocently asked: “Does this make you more or less likely to vote for David Cicilline?”

I don’t care if David Cicilline runs down the avenue naked. He votes the way I want him to, and that’s all that matters.

I’m not voting for a single solitary Republican in this election.

Got it?

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

One Response to Bad poll

  1. starproms says:

    Is anything ever for real these day?

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