In a dictatorship, no one calls to ask what you think.
In a Communist country, no one calls to ask what you think.
But here, in America, we live in a Democracy. In a Democracy, a “regular guy,” ordinary people, get a say.
- You get a say in who your elected leaders are.
- You get a say in what new products and services are developed.
- You get a chance to rate and review the goods that are for sale where you shop.
In America, the heads of government and the heads of big corporations care very much what you think. You may only have a few chances to tell them what is on your mind, but one of those chances occurs when you participate in an opinion research study, such as those conducted by SurveyUSA.
If SurveyUSA rings your phone, it’s because we want to make sure you, personally, have a chance to be included in one of our public opinion surveys on what Americans think. This is a special honor, since very few Americans are chosen for inclusion on any given survey. If we dial your phone number to be included in a survey, you speak for thousands of other Americans. What you tell us will help us understand exactly what you, and thousands of Americans like you, think.
If you hang up on us, then you surrender your say.
If you hang up when SurveyUSA calls, in effect, you are telling us:
- It’s OK for my neighbor to speak for me.
- My neighbor feels the same way I do about how the government is run.
- My neighbor feels the same way as I do about taxes, and terrorism, and social security.
- I surrender my voice to my neighbor.
- My neighbor drives the same kind of car that I do, and so my neighbor can tell you what features are important for new cars to have.
- My neighbor has the same amount of money that I have, so my neighbor can tell you what things should cost, and when things are too expensive.
- My neighbor has the same illnesses that I do, so my neighbor can tell you about what medicines drug companies should develop, and which medicines the drug companies should stop working on.
- My neighbor can speak for me about what kind of prison sentence should be given to criminals.
- My neighbor can tell you whether the next president should be a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, or a Green candidate.
- My neighbor can tell you whether taxes should go up or go down.
- My neighbor can tell you whether global warming is real, or made up.
- My neighbor can tell you whether abortion should be legal or illegal.
- My neighbor can tell you whether I should be allowed to own a gun.
- My neighbor can tell you whether it is OK for me to smoke in my car.
- My neighbor likes the same foods that i do, and drinks the same drinks that i do, so my neighbor can tell you what restaurants should put on their menus, and what they should charge.
- My neighbor can tell you all about immigration, he’s smarter than I am on that topic.
- Just ask my neighbor.
- My neighbor speaks for me.
When SurveyUSA calls, this is your chance to speak up, your chance to be counted, your chance to make sure your voice is heard.
- If you have ever had the thought: “No one cares what I think,” you are wrong.
- If you ever had the thought: “What I think doesn’t make any difference,” you are wrong.
What you think really does matter.
It matters to SurveyUSA. It matters to your elected leaders. It matters to the businesses who are trying to develop exactly the products and services that would make your life easier.
What you think, and what you tell us, is a critical part of how this great nation functions.
Making sure we include you in SurveyUSA’s public opinion polls is your insurance policy that you do have a voice in this Democracy. We reach out to you, so that not just the richest, or the best educated Americans have a say in how the country is run. SurveyUSA wants to make sure that all Americans have an equal voice.
That’s why we call you.
It’s part of the Democratic process. A beautiful thing, really.
Please do not surrender your voice to your neighbor.
Talk to SurveyUSA.
How Does SurveyUSA Get My Phone Number?
We don’t have your phone number. We don’t know who you are. We do know that Survey Sampling, Inc., of Fairfield CT, is the largest and most respected provider of “random sample” to opinion research companies. And we do know that SurveyUSA has done business with SSI for 13 of the past 14 years.
What we say to SSI is: “give us random phone numbers from [Geography X],” where Geography X might be:
- The state of Utah.
- The city of Boston.
- The Kansas City TV viewing area.
- Hamilton County, OH.
- Zip Code 10022, or …
- Florida’s 8th Congressional District.
For SurveyUSA to attempt to describe here the care that SSI takes in delivering to SurveyUSA random phone numbers would do a disservice to SSI (for there is great science and much subtlety in the process), but suffice it for quick summary purposes to say that SSI sells to SurveyUSA what SSI believes to be probable residential phone numbers.
- SurveyUSA does not know when it purchases a phone number if it goes to a working phone, or a non-working phone.
- SurveyUSA does not know when it dials a phone number whether it is a listed phone number or an unlisted phone number.
- SurveyUSA does not know if a particular number belongs to the richest person in town or the poorest.
- SurveyUSA does not know if the phone number is connected to a fax machine.
That’s what allows the process to work. The phone numbers that are delivered to SurveyUSA are generated at random.
The key word in that sentence is: generated.
The numbers that SSI sells to SurveyUSA are not taken out of a phone book. The phone numbers are not all contained in a big database somewhere. Rather, the numbers are generated by SSI, in real-time, as SurveyUSA (or as another research company) orders them.
The probable residential phone numbers that SSI sells to SurveyUSA are just that: phone numbers. They do not come with names, addresses, skin color, income, education, or any other characteristics. We don’t know anything about you before we start asking questions.
What About the “Do Not Call” List?
The national Do Not Call list is a way for Americans to stop marketing companies from calling your home and trying to sell you something.
When SurveyUSA, or another opinion research company, calls your home, we do not want to sell you something. All we want to know is what you think.
Opinion research companies can and do attempt to include everyone in their surveys.
Here is why:
Imagine if you had diabetes, and you found out that you were not asked your opinion about a new diabetes drug because you had put your number on the Do Not Call list. How would you feel?
Imagine if you thought your Mayor was dishonest, and was wasting your tax dollars. But then a survey came out that showed that the people of your town thought the mayor was honest. How would you feel if you learned that you had zero chance to be included in that survey, but that your neighbors all did have a chance to be included? You likely would feel cheated. You might feel that your chance to speak up had been taken from you.
SurveyUSA, like all opinion research companies, wants to make sure that everyone in a given community has an equal chance of being included.
That’s the scientific essence of what opinion research is. If one group has no chance to be included, then the results may not represent the views of the entire community.
Naturally, if you ask SurveyUSA to not call you, we won’t. We maintain an internal database of phone numbers of those people who tell us not to call. But few of these individuals realize that they are giving up something precious when they ask SurveyUSA to exclude them from opinion polls: they are giving up their voice in the Democracy.
If you would like SurveyUSA to add your phone number to our internally maintained Do Not Call list, look for the section on this website titled, Exclude Me From Future Surveys.