Kiss-and-Tell Presidential Polling

I can guarantee that if a pollster called me to ask which presidential candidate I find more kissable, I'd ask if this was a crank call, and even if it wasn't, I'd hang up.

I'd assume that people who ask random strangers about their kissing preferences must assume the risk of a smack in the kisser. Perhaps that's one reason we leave such work to professionally trained pollsters.

Still, some Americans are more than willing to assess the smooching skills of John Kerry and George W. Bush. In poll-crazy America, there now seems to be a poll on just about everything.

Which candidate has better hair? Who'd be more fun at a bar? Thanks to political polling we can answer these burning questions — and they don't come cheap.

Anybody can make a few phone calls and call it a survey. A formal poll is conducted by experts, like the Gallup Organization, and they generally have to interview more than 1,000 carefully selected people before they'll say it's a statistically valid reflection of the public.

You can guess part of the reason why Close-Up toothpaste conducts a kissability poll during a presidential election and why Match.com polls unmarried people. It keeps them in the news.

But some companies say they have to get involved in presidential elections, even if they're not taking a political stand. It's a matter of marketing.

"We have to know what single people are thinking and the upcoming election is part of it," says Trish McDermott, vice president of romance at Match.com, which commissioned a recent Gallup Poll of single voters.

The Match.com poll revealed that 91 percent of single people believe they're more likely to marry a registered voter. "That's why it pays for daters to be engaged to politics," says McDermott.

As Election Day nears, private industry wants to know which candidates score points with their hairstyle, fashion and personality. Put some of this research together and you get an interesting picture of the upcoming election.

The polling data says very little about the most pressing campaign issues, but obviously it's important to someone — or at the very least, someone paid for it.

Is Kerry ‘Hair Apparent’ to the Oval Office?

When Kerry chose John Edwards as his running mate, he jokingly proclaimed: "We've got better vision, better ideas … a better sense of what's happening to America. And we've got better hair."

But Kerry had a very bad hair day when the Wahl Clipper Corp. released a poll that found Bush has a lock on victory, at least when it comes to the locks on his forehead.

The hair care company's "Grooming Index" found that 51 percent of Americans prefer Bush's hairdo, while only 30 percent see Kerry as the White House "hair apparent."

The poll, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., reflected the views of 1,009 respondents, including 512 men.

Ten percent thought neither had an advantage, suggesting that Kerry and Bush should both consider a makeover appearance on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, while another 9 percent were undecided.

Wahl's "Hair Grooming Index" did not pit Edwards vs. Dick Cheney. Perhaps because that's a no-brainer, considering Cheney's balding pate and Edwards' cool cut.

Who’s More Kissable?

Kerry may come across to some as a cold intellectual, but a Close-Up toothpaste poll has some lip-smacking answers for his critics. The Democrat edges out Bush by a margin of 43 percent to 41 percent in the presidential puckering poll.

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PHOTO: Jodie Foster and Alexandra Hedison attend the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Inaugural Gala presented by Salvatore Ferragamo at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 17, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Stefanie Keenan/Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts/Getty Images for Wallis Annenber