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The Gallup Poll is Unfair

       Twice this week I was called by the Gallup Poll, which they each told me was the oldest and most well-respected of all the polls, or some such nonsense.  First a nitwit young man who, in the dullest, most bored tone imaginable, asked, “On a scale of one to five, how would you grade your education and how it helped you get employment?”  I said, “I’d give it a zero because it didn’t help me get any jobs at all.”  The fellow replied, “I’m sorry, sir, but this is a one to five rating and you can’t use zero, which isn’t a number.”  My eyes widened and I was immediately put in mind of an hysterical rant by Neil deGrasse Tyson against the use of negative numbers and how they won’t put them in elevators.  “I’d like to go to the negative third floor, please?”  “No, sir, that’s the sub-sub-sub-basement.”  So I corrected the insanely bored young man that indeed zero is a number.  I didn’t exactly say this, and I am cribbing the definition from Google, but I replied, “The first recorded zero appeared in Mesopotamia around 3 B.C. The Mayans invented it independently circa 4 A.D. It was later devised in India in the mid-fifth century, spread to Cambodia near the end of the seventh century, and into China and the Islamic countries at the end of the eighth.”  Yet the bored young man persisted in his demand that I only use a one to five scale, to which I said, “But that means I can only be positive.  What if I want to be negative?  The only way to make a poll fair is to go from -5 to 5.”  He didn’t get it and we hung up.
       Then, a couple of days later, there was “Gallup Poll” on my caller-ID again.  This time is was a bright young lady who tried to ask me the same stupid one to five questions and got the same response, which she found utterly fascinating and we both laughed. 
       Clearly, the Gallup Poll is ridiculously unfair, as are most polls, and worse still, they’re always wrong.

—Josh Becker