Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Professional opinion pollsters make fun of truth, science and statistics

I live in Jerusalem. Sometimes my landline rings. Seldom but it does happen. And sometimes it’s an opinion pollster and often a salesperson. And sometimes I have time and patience for them.

I will share some of the nonsense that they’ve told me. Be prepared for a shock. And never again to believe any poll taker or canvasser.

1. A few months ago, I was called to give my opinion on the Light Railway of Jerusalem. My chance to give it to them! First, all kinds of personal questions. The last one: my age. 65? Sorry, we have too many in that age bracket already, and they hung up.

I don’t know how statisticians call that but I call that tampering with the representativeness of the poll.

2. Recently, I was asked to participate in an opinion poll about the upcoming elections in Jerusalem for mayor and municipality. Which religious affiliation was I – the second question. Modern charedi. They have no such thing. Maybe you belong to the charedim and they fall under a separate poll. Well, why not then register me as dati? OK.

Next question, for which candidate for mayor are you going to vote? I don’t know yet. I’ll inform myself closer to the actual elections. But I have all these questions comparing the different candidates! So, you fill in for me that I don’t know – that’s also an answer. It’s called undecided voters, no? No, that is meaningless. Maybe we’ll call you again when you’ll have made up your mind.

3. Do you want an electronic version of the Jerusalem Post in your email inbox daily? Can I have some English information about that sent to my email first? Sure. They called me more than a dozen times (after six calls she got my name right). But I never got such an email, despite repeated promises.

(Full disclosure: in three consecutive letters to the JPost, published at this blog, I protested their reduction of the paper and ended my¬† 20+-year subscription. It’s unclear if the lady calling me knew about that. She never asked me what I like about the JPost. She only kept saying that it can be had now for a low price in electronic form. When I made aliya, 25 years ago, I offered my services to the JPost as I had been a top salesperson for national newspapers in the Diaspora. They didn’t want me because I didn’t speak Hebrew. For selling an English newspaper. Over the years, I’ve only seen sales blunders from them. How sad.)

How do any of these people keep their jobs and any of these projects keep their assignments? Does anyone paying for them listen into these calls? Probably not.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Holocaust survivors in The Netherlands, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Dutch Holocaust survivors. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. How ironic that he who had three times 90 for Dutch at his finals is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew. G-d definitely has a sense of humor. His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and LBCHLCH, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. His fields of attention are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine, Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (of young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQI, foreigners, and anyone else who's dehumanized and exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation) and Veganism. Many of his posts will relate to current affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or to new insights that suddenly befell him. He always tries to bring a fresh perspective and to avoid boring you or wasting your time with the obvious, though original minds by necessity will be attacked by their contemporaries. In case you wonder - yes he's a bit dyslectic. He has moved - with his library. To sort this out will easily take half a year. Therefore, for the time being, no more 6 blog posts every week. But he expects to be back full force after Pesach 2019. Meanwhile, he feels that many of the hundreds of posts he wrote are worth (re)reading so that he's not really abandoning his readers. To send a personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click on Contact Me.
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