Ed.: 020118 – Words: 1653 – Audio: N/A
Note to my readers… this is a repeat post of one I posted 24 hours ago that I decided to trash given the survey was difficult to read. Hopefully this post has corrected that issue. There’s also a lot of new info to read as well.
Ok.. this requires some explanation. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was raised in a Republican environment, but back in those days republicanism was a bit different in it’s philosophy and platform. My folks were never politically active nor did they go out of their way to voice strong political opinion. They were happy when Eisenhower defeated Truman and tended to follow traditional republicanism of the day. In the 60’s I tended to be more a “my country, right or wrong” kinda teenager. I was fairly conservative in my views. Over time my views grew to be more of a liberal conservatism. As I entered adulthood, went into my own businesses, raised a family… I never voted any sort of straight party ticket, opting to vote for president for who I thought had the right things to say, with the agenda that made sense to me. I did (and do) vote for Democrats occasionally. But when it came to registering to vote, and I had to do that often as I moved around the country, I would always register as a Republican; declaring Independent just seems far too indecisive and wishy-washy. So my last move, from Vegas to CA, I registered as a Republican more from habit than obsessive ideology; as far as being Conservative, well.. I see myself as too liberal. All that being said, I no doubt received this Trump mailing because I “claimed” being registered Republican. So I am not on Trump’s Rolodex and he just decided to say “hi”.
I received this mailing this last Monday… which apparently was timed accordingly given that’s the “date” on his letter. But when you read this thing…. it certainly provides an insight in what might be going on inside the White House and his presidency. From the four page intro letter it’s readily apparent that Trump is a bit desperate; desperate for funds, desperately trying to fight his naysayers (both in the public and the media), and he’s struggling to essentially stay politically alive. It’s rather an amazing appeal he’s making. This is NOT only your typical party request for election fundraising cash… he’s trying to raise cash for his defense… his war chest; a term he actually uses although he’s assigning it to his re-election campaign. He’s making the cause as a grand crusade against an “enemy”…. with little substance about what he wants to do specifically in the common years. This is the attempt to ward off the inevitable tragedy to the Republican party when they loose control after the midterms. To me this is saying Trump is mad and pissed at the world… and of course needs his drug injection of a screaming audience.
He’s also requesting the respondent complete a survey. As you scroll down and read this stuff.. and the nature of the questions, it’s very apparent he’s trying to get a pulse for his support… his infamous base… to see if it’s wavered. In effect this is a “climate study”; testing the waters.
Read the letter. Divisiveness 101.
I leave this letter to your own judgement as to it’s intent. But the survey is interesting.
My (Professional) Critique of This Survey
Professional, you ask? What makes me think I know what I am talking about? Well, I tend to view surveys like this fairly critically because I was in the business of statistical data gathering and blank form creation. For 15 years my business assisted other businesses in data entry tabulating of things like this.. mostly for marketing campaigns. There’s a science in how questions are asked on surveys in order to get better and richer and more valuable response data, which translates to greater accuracy in knowing how your product (or personal image) might be received in the marketplace. Politics is no different.. it’s all about marketing a person. For example, you can ask a question “Do you like me? Circle: Yes No” In the end all you know is the number of respondents who may or may not like you… and pretty much that explains nothing regarding HOW or WHY people may or may not like you… so you can address those areas… and maybe shift their opinion to your favor.
First off, the design of this thing (forget the content for a moment) I personally think is pretty good. The fonts, spacing and general question layout is good and fairly easy to read and interpret; after all, the idea is to encourage a response and that includes not having a complex format with a lot of small print and text. While it’s not apparent to the reader in this blog, the survey paper cut size is larger than 8.5×11 and the bond is a good thickness. While it tends to draw the attention of the respondent by not being the same size and thickness as the letter pages, it was likely favored because these surveys will be placed in an optical reader hopper en masse for tabulating so there would be less misfeeds and jams from standard bond that is susceptible to torn, crinkled or frayed corners and edges.
But here’s the most glaring design flaw and it’s a critical one. Note the image below with the instructions.
These instructions are located in smaller print just under the large banner title of the survey (scroll down a bit to view the entire header image). That in itself makes it very easy to overlook. But here’s the strange flaw. Note #1 above… the correct way on this survey to respond your answer is to FILL IN THE BOX, NOT use a check mark or an “X” through it. There are two things at work here (maybe even more if you like conspiracy theories). Some of my readers might be old enough to recall their history following the American Civil War when the Southern states would put up various roadblocks to the ability of recently freed black Americans to vote… or to get their vote counted. Knowing full well that black folks of the day were less likely to know how to read, the ballots would contain instructions (in smaller print as well because black folks were not likely to have glasses) that included things like filling in the box rather than the more instinctive putting an “X” through the box. The instructions in those days even went so far as to say that any part of the “X” should not exceed the boundaries of the box.. or else your vote would not be counted. Obviously future legislation fixed that nonsense back then… but you tell me if something doesn’t “smell” a little funny here… or some complete idiot was asleep at the wheel in designing this form. The print is small (playing on the likelihood it might be overlooked), and the rule itself is never repeated anywhere else in the form. I am the living example of what happens when people sit down to address completing this form… I saw questions, and boxes.. and common sense told me to place “X’s” through the boxes. The end result is that the optical scanner will not pick many, if any, of my “X’s”… thus making this a complete waste of my time… but more importantly, not provide any feedback to the Trump people. Absolutely this will affect the percentage of respondents and thus the quality and credibility of the stats.
In the least, the filled in box being important (which I agree is better for optical character recognition), should have been repeated with each and every question; smaller font as a tag at the end of each question would help to remind the respondent. If one is serious about sending out a survey and wanting real data coming back, you want to reduce as much as possible uncountable returned surveys. They will not get 50% (my guess, 10-15%) of these things back… and here’s a big reason… the voter’s name and address is on it. Given Trump’s base is already suspicious as hell about government I don’t see this flying well at all with his base, nor many other folks as well. Yes.. there is likely a logical reason which could very likely be to reduce a potential for fraudulent responses… but mainly it’s to keep a paper trail of cash donors; campaign finance laws are very thorough these days as is the social court of public opinion in politicians accepting money from abusers and criminals. But while all that might be in place to protect the voting and campaigning process, many people will not fill out this survey because they can be identified with it.
Let’s move on the the survey. I have included my responses, with some comments noted on the side. Got your No. 2 pencil ready? Turn over your survey and begin.
Before I end this nightmarish post I recommend you read this final excerpt from the survey/contribution form. Likely as a result of campaign reform laws.. this still shines a strange light on how your donation dollars will be used. A number of questions pop into my head reading this.. on the other hand.. who cares? Maybe your money will end up paying of one of Trump’s porn hookers.
Well… needless to say my survey responses were not submitted on the form correctly, but if all I can do with this junk mail is let you read it.. that has some value.
In case you wish to donate, here’s where to send your money… from the back of the envelope.