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.
Independent Ralph Nader was least kissable, earning just 12 percent, and there's no telling how his largely unkissable puss influenced this race.
These kiss-and-tell smooching statistics, based on a poll of 500 18- to 24-year-old men and women, might not be as irrelevant as you think. Good baby-kissing skills are nearly a requirement for any elected official. And remember the criticism Al Gore received at the 2000 Democratic Convention, when he and wife Tipper locked lips so long that some Americans wanted to scream, "Get a room!"
Who’s the Bigger Blabbermouth?
Ladies, if you had a secret, which candidate would you want as a confidant? A Lifetime Television poll shows that 40 percent of young women (ages 18 to 34) put their faith in gentleman George, and that number jumps to 78 percent among Republican gals.
Kerry earned the trust of three in 10 women — including 62 percent of Democratic dames — according to the poll of 2,042 people, conducted by CARAVAN Opinion Research Corp.
What Do Women Really Want?
Don't ask either candidate for insights into the opposite sex. The same Lifetime poll reveals that only 16 percent of women say Bush understands female voters, and even fewer — 12 percent — say Kerry has a clue.
Who’d Be a Better Neighbor?
Bush may be raked over the coals during the Democratic National Convention, but apparently more Americans would want to invite him over for a backyard barbecue.
Even though the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute found Kerry has a slight lead of 47.7 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, the same 1,007 respondents were more likely to favor Bush as a next-door neighbor (36.4 percent to 27.1 percent), a guy they'd invite for a cup of coffee (40.9 percent to 26.6 percent), or take to a baseball game (44 percent to 25 percent).
Who’s the Best Match for Internet Daters? It's more than lingering animosity over the Florida recount fiasco in 2000 that has Kerry hoping that every single vote is counted. He wallops his rival in popularity among single voters.
Match.com's poll of unmarried voters shows Kerry with a lead of 54 percent to 46 percent over Bush. Gallup interviewed more than 1,001 single voters, although it's unclear whether pollsters called when they were home along on a Saturday night, and perhaps a little bitter.
Who’s More Fun at the Bar?
Both candidates lost when Bass beer asked Boston pub patrons, "Who'd you rather drink with?" The real winner was Edwards, who was the drinking partner of choice for 29 percent of barflies interviewed by research firm Chadwick Martin and Bailey.
Bush no longer drinks, yet still edged out Kerry by 28 percent to 24 percent for second place, even though the poll was conducted in Kerry's back yard.
The 200 pub-goers who were interviewed offered especially sobering news for Bush's running mate. Only 6 percent wanted to drink with Cheney, and that's less than the 14 percent who said they'd drink alone rather than toss back a few with any of the candidates.
We'll have to see who's buying the next round on Election Day, when losers tend to drown their sorrows and winners expect someone else to spring for the next round.
Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.