Election phone pollster turns on caller

Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-19 17:23:52-04

EAST MOLINE, Illinois (WQAD) — A spokesperson for a Republican phone bank is apologizing for an overzealous volunteer worker who read the riot act to the recipient of a routine election polling call.

“The issue will be addressed,” said Jon Schweppe, Director of Communications with the Bobby Schilling election campaign.

Al Ramos of East Moline, Illinois was surprised to be on the receiving end of the wrath of the female phone pollster who called his home this week.

“She asked if I was going to vote for Bobby Schilling or Cheri Bustos,” Mr. Ramos recounted. He says he told her he was leaning toward Bustos, but was still a bit on the fence.

Then, he said, she asked if the election were held today, would he vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. Ramos says he told the pollster he isn’t a Romney fan because “he’s for the rich,” but he is not entirely happy with the president, either.

“I told her I’ll go with the lesser of two evils, I would go with Obama, and she said, ‘What, so you want to live in a communist nation? You want to live in a communist state, because that’s what’s going to happen,'” he said.

Ramos said he was shocked that a survey taker would turn on him.

“She hung up on me. They ask your opinion, and then they don’t accept them,” Ramos said.

The 80-year-old is retired from Case, and had worked in both the union and management positions. He is a Korean war veteran who says he leans Democratic but votes for the person, not the party.

“I split my ticket, not just straight Democrat or Republican,” he said. But the caller, he says, was out of line.

“It does show the divisiveness of this country,” Ramos added.

Schweppe confirms the call came from a call center in East Moline, called the “Victory Center,” a phone bank he says is paid for by the Illinois Republican Party.

“We have hundreds of volunteers making phone calls…This issue will be addressed and repeated with all future callers,” Schweppe said. He also offered an apology to Mr. Ramos for the caller’s behavior.

But good luck calling him. Ramos says he won’t be answering any further unidentified numbers until after the election.