Race irrelevant to conducting surveys

By Tibor Machan: Freedom New Mexico columnist

Recently a woman identifying herself as calling for the Rasmussen Group asked my views on President Obama’s current and expected performance. I answered pretty much as anyone who knows me would expect. I said, in essence, that his economic policies sucked.

I was also asked a bunch of questions unrelated to my views, having to do with my ethnicity, age, income, etc. I reluctantly answered these except for one I lied about. When asked my race I said “other” instead of “white.” That was in my effort to discourage the outfit from taking race into consideration as surveys are being conducted. Answering such questions seem to amount to complicity in racial profiling, although the others, about my income or age, came pretty close to doing something like that too.

It is annoying that a major survey group engages in such profiling, something often condemned when done by police in effort to flight crime. Why is it OK to deploy such profiling when people’s views are being recorded? For one, I have held my views back when I earned a fraction of my present income, when I was a fraction of my present age, etc. So what do these have to do with what an American citizen thinks about politics or President Obama’s performance in office?

I was also asked about taxes, whether I consider raising or lowering them a good thing, as well as government involvement in the economy, ditto. Why would my age or race or income have any bearing on this?

OK, so those folks are supposed to know a thing or two about gathering information. But some of what they did sounds fishy to me. Especially at a time when much of the citizenry throughout the country has given up on racism, ageism, and similar kinds of categorizations with which bigots tend to assess the merits of someone’s thoughts and actions.

I am convinced there should be a lot more about why one holds this or that view in the list of questions being posed.

OK, this would take a bit longer to discover about us all, although they could do what they did here, namely select four or five possible answers and ask you to select from these. But it may be worth it since then it would foster critical thinking rather than political demagoguery.

Well, these are my reactions to being quizzed in the way the Rasmussen people go about quizzing those whom they contact by phone. I can fully appreciate it, by the way, that when the government takes its census, many people would find it very annoying and even inappropriate to be questioned along these similar lines.

Just thought I would make a public response to the Rasmussen people’s approach to recording my views. It sadly tends not to be so much about my views but about the type or kind of sort of person I am, which should be completely off limits for responsible surveyors.