So, you thought the purpose of that poll showing 73% of California restaurants now providing salsa as a standing table-top offering was to provide factual data, right?
The true purpose of the poll scam, commissioned by a salsa processor, was to further an agenda–to get you to accept as bald fact that salsa, placed alongside salt, pepper, and sugar in that high percentage of restaurants proves its mass-market appeal.
Intent is to mislead you into believing it has now replaced ketchup as a table-top standby. If truly informative data were sought by a truly objective pollster, the actual figure would probably be closer to 20%, maybe as high as 35%. How, then, did the pollster in this case, get to the 73% stratosphere?
Easy! Through adapting con artists’ tactics, the run up, or lead-in, questions in this poll scam paved the way.
These preliminary questions, asked of restaurant operators, were (something like): Do you feel salsa is a worthy addition to your customer’s choice of offerings? (Key word, “choice,” connotes big-heartedness, customer satisfaction, willingness to serve, to please. The “yes” response to this question would be substantial.)
Next question, please: Do you feel that having an ample supply readily available is important? (Key words here are “readily” and “important.”) To the restaurateur-respondent, reaction is pre-ordained. ” To himself he would say, “Of course, I just said it was good customer relations, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.”
Now that the recipient has been pre-conditioned to say “yes,” and the setup is complete, comes the big question, “Do you offer salsa as a standing table-top offering? With the way the restaurateur-respondent has been “set up,” this will bring out puffery, exaggeration, hyperbole, and outright lies. It will jump the percentage of those saying yes way up, to the pollster’s desired level of positive response. Viola, the 73% figure.
If you are ever polled, while you’re wondering if this train of thought has a caboose, you might also be thinking: it’s better to be thought of as a fool than to open my mouth wrong and remove all doubt. If you feel on the defensive, bingo.
That’s exactly where the word-games-playing con artist pollster wants you.. Does the name, Pavlov, ring a bell? Bingo again. The pollster is trying to make you feel like Pavlov’s dog, obedient, compliant, follow his leads, and, above all else, be polite and agreeable, so that you will give him the answers he wants.
It’s not only the lead-in questions which are the enabler–to jack the percentage of the main-thrust answers for which the pollster is fishing. Often it’s the choice of questions themselves.
Example from another poll scam:
If the pollster asks, “Do you believe in capitalism?” the yes answer would probably come to somewhere around 50%. (The term, “capitalism,” has a negative connotation to many, bringing forth thoughts of greed, money barons, the exploitative rich, albeit it is still the generally accepted American economic system. That’s why the split in opinion.) Yet, if the pollster con artist were to ask the exact same question, in different words, “Do you believe in the American free enterprise system?” (key words here are “free,” and “enterprise,” which does not carry capitalism’s baggage), this alone would jerk upwards the positive response to at least 90%.
So, remember, when that friendly pollster next phones, you must ask yourself, “Does he actually seek informative data? Or, is he trying to manipulate me–to promote his own hidden agenda?”
If you decide his purpose is the latter, you might never again believe poll results you see, read, or hear.