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Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Monday, March 13, 2000

A peek into
Lite’s poll vault

WE hear a lot about polls this time of year. President Clinton's advisers conduct daily polls to find out what he should talk about. If the poll shows people are worried about health care, he talks about health care. If the polls show they just want him to shut up, he talks about health care.

Presidential candidates use polls to find out if people understand what they're saying. They also use them to find out what people believe in so they can believe in the same thing. It's always easier to lead a parade if you know which way the parade is going and run out in front of it.

But who are these people who are polled? I've never been polled. I don't know anyone who's been polled and I'll bet you don't either.

There are probably only about 10 people in the country who are continuously polled. From them, political analysts can pick the winners of elections eight months in advance with a degree of accuracy that would stun Einstein.

Here's a chance for all of you who have never been polled to take part in this important democratic institution. I'll present a series of questions on important issues. You answer them and send them back to me. Then, sometime in the future, I'll report the results of the Almost Completely Meaningless Honolulu Lite Poll of People Who Have Never Been Polled.

1. What is your favorite color?
2. If the United States was an animal, what would it be (excluding eagle)?
3. Would you rather slide down a mile-long razor blade into a vat of mayonnaise or watch a Paulie Shore movie?
4. Which Honolulu City Council member has the weirdest hair?
5. Because you live in Hawaii, your presidential vote doesn't really count. But if it did, who would you choose for president?
6. Do you consider rabbits primarily food or pets?
7. Should the U.S. government force fat people not to eat as much?
8. Do you know the capital of Rhode Island (no peeking)?
9. Should we sell Rhode Island to China to help reduce the national debt?
10. Have you ever been to Rhode Island?
11. Are you tired of questions relating to Rhode Island?
12. Do you find turtles amusing?
13. What's the nastiest thing you ever did to another human being short of a felony?
14. How do you spell pycnidium?
15. Did you figure out that No. 14 was a trick question?
16. What type of tree does Al Gore most resemble?
17. Should the name of Diamond Head crater be changed to Arthur?
18. Would tourists flock to a place that had a volcanic crater named Arthur?
19. What is the Rene in Rene Mansho short for?
20. What is the best movie of all time?
21. Do you think it is just a coincidence that George W. Bush looks exactly like Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman or is it part of a conspiracy by the Trilateral Commission to take over the world?
22. Did I forget to tell you that you have the right to remain silent and that any answer you give here can be used against you in a court of law?
23. I've run out of questions but wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and remind you that for the full impact of the polling experience, you need to answer these questions while trying to eat supper.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802
or send E-mail to or

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