Tuesday, September 04, 2012


My first career was as a market research analyst, and ever since then I've been a market research hobbyist. As part of that I always volunteer to do surveys - I like to keep up with how questions are asked, critique technique, and so on.

But in recent years it has come out that the Harper Conservatives use surveys as a political device to keep tabs on voters. They maintain a huge, sophisticated database that we're all in, and that tracks not just our political affiliations but also our spending habits, activities, beliefs... who knows what. There is increasing evidence that they used this database to devise a program of voter suppression in the last election, as well as a program of dirty tricks, calling voters and pretending to be Liberals while doing things to piss the voter off, like calling late at night or sending a rude message.

It's got so that I often don't answer surveys. Surveys are supposed to be anonymous, aggregating data but protecting the privacy of each respondent, and it's clear that a lot of them aren't doing that.

Now for the latest in dirty surveys. In the lead-up to the KW by-election tomorrow, I have been getting a ton of robo-survey-calls. They start with a voice saying they want to ask some questions about the by-election. The first question asks who I would vote for if the election were held today. I answer Eric Davis, the Liberal candidate. The second question asks me if I know that Dalton McGuinty is destroying the province. Then it abruptly hangs up and I get a bleeping busy signal.

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