LAS VEGAS – In a small room, a support group for compulsive gamblers held a meeting. But these weren’t ordinary citizens, they were pollsters, and some of the biggest.
“My name is Jim, and I’m a compulsive gambler,” said a man seated among the circle. “And I’m also a…pollster.” This Jim happened to be Gallup CEO Jim Crimpton, who chose to reveal his identity to the press. “I wanted to admit my problem,” Crimpton said, “so that other pollsters would follow suit – whoops, there’s my gamblespeak again.
Another member of the group was Michael Dimwitte, President of the Pew Research Center. “First,” Dimwitte said, “we took a poll on whether or not we should come clean. Then we made bets on what percentage of us would be willing to admit it. That’s when we really knew we had a problem.”
Major users of poll data expressed concern, including CNN Vice President Faye Knuez. “We’ve been paying for their information,” Knuez said, “but it’s just a lot of crap from these crapshooters.”
Some pollsters like Chip Tray believe gambling actually improves polling results. “Gambling is a better predictor than all the nonsense we could come up with,” Tray said. “Remember back in 2004, when exit polls showed John Kerry with the lead? Well, I was betting on betfair.com, where 90% of bettors had their money on Bush.”
Barbara Welcher, Hiring Manager at Gallup, says polling job seekers are now listing gambling skills on their resumes. “I look for applicants who can multitask,” Welcher said. “Someone who hangs out at the horse track while placing sports bets and playing online casino on their phone is a strong candidate for a pollster position.”