1. Can you talk about "Mad Men?" Oh yes. 2. Can you talk about the "The Sopranos?" No. 3. Do you know who replaced Bob Barker on "The Price Is Right?" Yes. 4. Have you watched an Oprah show from beginning to end? Yes. 5. Can you hold forth animatedly about yoga? Only Kundalini yoga, though. I guess that's still elitist. 6. How about pilates? Yes. 7. How about skiing? No. 8. Mountain biking? No. 9. Do you know who Jimmie Johnson is? No. 10. Does the acronym MMA mean anything to you? No. 11. Can you talk about books endlessly? Yes. 12. Have you ever read a "Left Behind" novel? No. 13. How about a Harlequin romance? No. 14. Do you take interesting vacations? If I took vacations, I hope they would be interesting. 15. Do you know a great backpacking spot in the Sierra Nevada? No. 16. What about an exquisite B&B overlooking Boothbay Harbor? No. 17. Would you be caught dead in an RV? Probably not. 18. Would you be caught dead on a cruise ship? I was on one years ago -- it was ok, but I wouldn't do it again. 19. Have you ever heard of of Branson, Mo? Yes. 20. Have you ever attended a meeting of a Kiwanis Club? No. 21. How about the Rotary Club? No. 22. Have you lived for at least a year in a small town? Oh yes, before I was five, and as an adult in Japan. 23. Have you lived for a year in an urban neighborhood in which most of your neighbors did not have college degrees? Yes, in Istanbul. 24. Have you spent at least a year with a family income less than twice the poverty line? Yes. 25. Do you have a close friend who is an evangelical Christian? Not a close friend, no. 26. Have you ever visited a factory floor? Yes. 27. Have you worked on one? Yes, in Japan, but I was an English teacher. Does that count?
I think you can probably figure out how to score it. I figure I got 13/27 plebe, so not quite 50%.
It's interesting -- I had a couple of conversations last week with people (one of whom was my brother) who told me that Ford could not win. I was certain that he would and certain that he would win by a bigger margin than the polls were suggesting. What I believed -- and I think I have been proven correct -- was that people were not willing to admit to pollsters (or to TV cameras) that they were voting for Ford.
In 2004, two weeks before the U.S. election, I was talking to a man from Boston (he was working in Toronto). At the time, the polls had George Bush and John Kerry neck and neck, or even had Kerry a bit ahead. The media were predicting a Kerry victory and gleefully hoping it would be a reverse of 2000 -- i.e., that Bush would win the popular vote but not the Electoral College. So I asked this man from Boston -- Kerry's state and one of the most latte-drinking states in the union -- what he thought would happen. Without hesitation he said, "Bush will win and with a convincing margin." I was shocked and mentioned the polls. He said, again without hesitation, "People don't want to admit that they are voting for Bush. But they will vote for him." And he was right. And I was glad.
With candidates that people look down on -- especially those that are held in contempt by leftists and intellectuals -- there is always the likelihood that those polled won't answer honestly. I suspect there was a good deal of that with Reagan, as well.