The (866) 540-3140 Mystery

Every day — every day! — for the last eight or so days I’ve been at home I’ve gotten a robo-call from an outfit that identifies itself as “Independent Voter Research.”

Every day — every day! — the robot asks me the same demographic questions (age, party, likely voter, race) and then asks me who I plan to vote for. Once I think it maybe also asked what I think of the President’s job performance. At the end of the short quiz, it gives a number at which ‘Independent Voter Research’ can be contacted: (866) 540-3140.

Something odd here. What kind of poll calls the same person every day? Is it looking for a different demographic, hoping the other registered voter will answer the phone? Is it some weird new type of tracking poll where they are looking to see if a given fixed population changes its views over time? Some unfathomable scam, looking for old folks to rip off? Some polling outfit ripping off some campaign? Some campaign with more money than sense?

After last night’s call, I’d had it. I called the number, and got a recording saying that they were sorry they had missed me, but were just calling to get my opinion; obviously a message for those with caller ID. Same thing again today.

So it seems that “Independent Voter Research” is not a group that really wants me to know about it. On to the internet, where they have no apparent web page. But looking up the number leads me to frantic discussions between Ron Paul supporters about a plot to get info about delegates in Virginia and elsewhere. More interestingly, it also leads me to a Rolling Stone article from Februay, Romney Camp Tapped Volunteers For Deceptive Polling Effort in Michigan in which I learn that the “Independent Voter Research” monicker and the same phone number were in fact used by the Romney campaign in a shady project in Michigan. But that project involved live callers; this one is a recording.

So, assuming this is a Romney project, what on earth do they stand to gain from robo-calling me daily?

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21 Responses to The (866) 540-3140 Mystery

  1. Jamie says:

    Romney doesn’t benefit. Some political consulting group does.

  2. P. Scott Williams says:

    I just looked up “Independent Voter Research” just now and one of the things I found was this page. I was trying to find out how to contact them to complain about one of their questions. I always hate it when survey designers, by not putting sufficient thought into their work, come up with questions that can’t be answered. In querying who I intend to vote for, I get 3 choices: 1) Big O 2) Big Bux or 3) undecided. That’s it. Well, I’m not voting for either Romney or Obama, and I am not undecided either. I am voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, but what if I was a Green and was voting for their candidate? (at least I believe them when they say they’ll stop these insane wars – if the L’s don’t win I hope the G’s do) There are other parties too, and perhaps other candidates who are unaffiliated will show up, who knows? For a company apparently researching independent voters, it is curious that they give you no other choice but the two big parties, and nothing else.

    • Just me says:

      It is not that curious. They are just writing you off if you are voting for some third candidate. They probably figure you are “beyond help” and don’t care about you anymore.

  3. Colorado Independent says:

    I am in Colorado and also receiving these calls almost daily. Last week I lied and pushed the button to say I was voting for Romney. Within two minutes I received another phone call-from the exact same number-asking me to attend a Paul Ryan event, and leaving me a return phone number of the Romney Camp here in Colorado and the RNC. This is not polling at all, they are phishing. It is just one more instance of the GOP being deceptive.

    • Bored Iowan says:

      Just noted that I’d be voting for Romney and I never got any such call. It doesn’t seem directly connected to anything. Just so you know I work a call center so it doesn’t make sense to put Obama first if Romney is your choice, just because most popular answers are usually whatever is said first. So phishing doesn’t make any sense to me.

  4. Vic says:

    Who actually bothers to listen to automated (or even live) phone polls and answers them? Seriously.

    That’s the only mysterious happening here.

  5. Kathy says:

    I just want to find out how to STOP these calls! They are DAILY. I guess they are immune from the Do Not Call Registry? Sheesh. SO annoying!

  6. Zachary Pruckowski says:

    Coming to this kind of late, sorry. What’s the wording on the poll? I’d wonder if it’s a push poll. Are you answering the questions and it’s accepting your answer each time? Like I know if you have a rotary phone or something, it might not recognize you’ve responded.

    Kathy – there are a lot of carve-outs for political campaigns from things like No Solicitation laws and (presumably, though I haven’t looked) Do Not Call.

  7. Amused says:

    Do these clowns think calling 24/7 will endear us to them???? Unfortuntetly they use mud slinging as a campaign tool rather then giving us any info towards there plans beliefs or what they would do in office—-this yrs race should be titled “What if they held an election and no one voted?”
    And sad but true these elected officials who nicely gave us hope of no more inturrptions from annoying telemarketers DNC—hid in there useless DNC that they are all exempt from this and therefore call day and night including Sunday’s and hide behind an 800 #

    Guess the joke is on US the American people:)

  8. Wes says:

    I have answered the poll three or four times now. It is not a push poll, question are neutrally worded. From the demographic questions they can identify every registered voter in the household, and how we each intend to vote for president and US House. Perhaps they have a secret plan to keep me from voting…..

    Colorado is running close to even, so I expect the calls to continue.

  9. Brig says:

    I too have received multiple calls on multiple days here in Florida, identically worded (it seems). The automated call says it will only take 30 seconds. First it asks some demographic questions and then
    1) am I a likely voter
    2) who do I prefer for President (O, R, some third answer)
    3) who do I prefer for Senate (Mack, Nelson, some third answer)

    The idea that I might get follow-up calls if I prefer Romney seems plausible, but I’ve never answered that way.

  10. Tobias says:

    Received a call (again….) and asked the Independent Voter Research at 866-540-3140 to remove me from their call list. The lady told me that she could not and I had to contact voter registration. WTF?!?!?!

  11. Tobias says:

    If you have Comcast, use their call screening feature by hitting #60. Hope it works. I filed a complaint at the Do Not Call Registry as well.

  12. Ellen says:

    They’re calling on my cell phone constantly… that’s just plain mean!

  13. Kyle Schlapkohl says:

    Best way to get them to stop is by calling your telecom and requesting they block the number. It works with Verizon.

  14. Jane says:

    This is happening to myself and others I know here in Colorado, too. I am in research myself, and know that no legitimate poller will call the same individual over and over. That a campaign might be phishing is really annoying, and they do keep calling relentlessly, day after day. Best bet is to block through your phone provider if you can.

  15. R A says:

    I keep getting calls from “Independent Voter Research” but my caller ID always displays “Private Caller”. I get these calls daily and I never respond to them. Unfortunately, I work nights and am on call, so I can’t shut my phone off.

  16. Poll O Vote R says:

    Interesting commentary regarding the republicans. NV is close and we get the call 3-4 times per week – and have since July. With this poll and ALL of the others, we are voting for O… don’t intend to vote that way, but want R to be nervous and keep working hard. Additionally — there’s more retribution likely from O for not admitting a vote for him… and after all, they have your number.

  17. Brian says:

    I got this call a lot, 2-3 times a day, both my wife and I took the poll once, but most every other time, it would just hang up on us. It starts out with a real person, and asks if you are willing to take a 30 second poll, so finally when someone was actually on the other end, I asked them “I’ve already taken your poll, why do you keep calling me? How valid are your poll results if you keep calling the same people 50 times a day” The lady said, Ok, goodbye, seemed shocked at what I said to her, they haven’t called back either :)

  18. Aslynn says:

    This is driving me absolutely nuts. I get the same thing on my cell 2-6 times a day. Every day. And I got the same 866 number with the same recording. I’ve answered the survey. I’ve told them to stop calling. I called AT&T and I can add a parental control to my line and block up to 30 numbers….for 4.99/month. And they’ve called me from 4-6 different numbers already in different states, so I’m not really willing to shell out money for that. SO FRUSTRATING.

  19. tyler dalley says:

    This is happening to me. They call all night and morning until i finally wake up and take their stupid poll. Its the same poll every time!! The number is : 202-808-3075. Its a real person asking if i have 30 sec for “independent voter research”. I found this number to be associated with the skewed poll, i called it and got someone from the Romney campaign and would not answer any questions. Heres his number: 515-657-4230

    I also spoke with several pollers calling me from the same 202- number and one guy apologised but said “i cant take you off the list” in a sad empathetic tone as if to say “im sorry, i have to torture you all night with phone calls…they give me no choice. But would not tell me anything and hung up when asked questions.

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