Political Fundraisers Disguised as Polls are Insulting!

You’ve seen them on Facebook every day and in your inbox regularly. And they never show you the results of those polls.

Every campaign is doing it. They are raising funds for their campaigns by working on our fears. But they are patronizing and misleading. I find them insulting.

To illustrate this I will use my favorite candidate, Bernie Sanders. I’m using one of his fundraiser/polls because I wanted this to be about the issue rather than a political attack against one specific candidate. Since I am for Bernie Sanders, I think his campaign is fair game for this example.

I receive regular emails from several campaigns, and one I received from Bernie had a link to this “Poll” about media coverage. You can see on this page that they are 100% focusing on the issue in question, and they want to receive “as many responses as we can get”.

Tell us what you think

Not, “hey we are asking for more money, and we want you to donate because we know this topic is important to you”. They appear at first glance to seek your opinion, but that doesn’t last.

Note the lack of ‘unfunded options’

Where’s the “No, I already donated yesterday” or the “No thanks, I’m broke”?

The questions are pretty much obvious to answer. 99% of the folks that receive these emails are 100% onboard with the answers they are looking for, but we never see the results of these polls. So we are left to assume either 100% of the respondents think alike, or they aren’t keeping track of the answers at all. Oh, and why not have a few answers we can select that allow us not to donate this time?

Where are the Poll Results, dammit?

If they are going to take the time to create all these polls and surveys and pretend they want to know the answers to them, they should at least publish the results. We are giving them something for nothing, and often paying them in the process, so why not give us something in return — the results! It’s like “poll gaslighting”.

After you click “add your name” without selecting a donation you get this “before you go”

Polls are Tools to Manipulate People

This is key: Many of the ActBlue fundraiser polls go a step further and ask, “Which candidate do you want to win the nomination?”. And that’s different than the Bernie example. If they are asking whether we like Pudding or Cake, ok, I don’t need to know. But when they are asking “which candidate is best for our country moving forward after Trump”, or “if you voted today, which democrat would you vote for”, then those results are important given that most of the traditional polling agencies are untrustworthy and non-transparent. Even more importantly, most media outlets like Fox and MSNBC can’t be trusted to share the poll results with the world honestly. Which brings me back to these fundraiser/polls.

Public opinion matters to a lot of people. If a wealthy corporation wants to change PR optics, they just hire a PR firm to spin something positive. It’s no different than polling. If a political party wants to drum up more brand loyalty for a corporate candidate, one of the many ways to artificially create positive buzz surrounding their candidate is to hire a polling firm to do a poll. Those results can be spoon-fed to certain media outlets to manufacture popularity or to accomplish other political purposes.

These fundraiser/polls might be another way to see a snapshot of today’s trends — another data point we involved voters can use to better understand the situation with our candidates. Hiding the results of those polls is suspicious, and yes, insulting to me.

Before you go…

Again, I love Bernie, and he is running an amazing campaign. But as with all the campaigns that are doing these “pseudo-push-poll bait-and-switch” fundraisers, I want to see the results! In fact, I demand it! Stop insulting me and show me the damn results!


The next time you see one of these fundraiser/polls let them know you want to see the poll results. If it’s on Facebook or Twitter, post a message saying you want to see the results and tag it with #ShowMeThePollResults.

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