The cool thing about surveys is that they allow a company/organization/political figure to learn whether or not what they believe their customers/constituents think is truly what they think. It is the equivalent of having the opportunity to have lunch with someone and ask him or her twenty questions about things you think you know the answers to, but to which you don’t actually know the answers.
We, at Blue Shoe, have on more than one occasion suggested that a client create a survey before spending substantial dollars on an initiative that is based on his or her intuition, however strong that may be. “It’s easy,” we say. “It’s painless, and you might just change your mind about some assumptions you have. Let’s do it!”
One of my money-manager clients sent me this survey that arrived for the brother of one of his clients. Turns out, the brother passed away and so his client received it for him. I am pretty sure the guy opened it and it killed him.
When you have no desire to know what people really think, but you want to tell people what they said they think —but really, it’s not what they thought because the questions are worded in a way that ensures the person answering will answer in a certain way — you know the survey’s purpose is to provide false data around the opinions of constituents.
Here’s an example:
“Do you support reducing the federal tax rate for corporations to stop companies from moving their headquarters overseas and to encourage investment in facilities that will lead to job growth in the United States?”
Who wouldn’t answer yes to that? But dollars to doughnuts, the survey creator will say that X percent of the respondents support lowering taxes for companies in America. And the premise that companies will use the tax savings to expand here is one that has yet to be proven. The question is ridiculous, and anyone with any understanding of how these things work will see right through it.
Companies are built around asking survey questions in a way that really determines the answer to the question, or supports or denies the relevancy of something.
GOP, let me give you the question . . . for free:
“Do you support lowering taxes for companies that are already paying less than their fair share of taxes to support the country that has given them everything they need to be the billion-dollar companies they have become?”
OK, I was lying. The question should read:
“Are you in favor of lowering corporate taxes in this country? Why or why not?”
This sickens me. Now we have to add fake surveys to fake news.
Managing Partner, Blue Shoe Strategy