Kiss-and-Tell Presidential Polling

Bush and Kerry Square Off in Polls on Secret-Keeping and Kissability

I can guarantee that if a pollster called me to ask which presidential candidate I find more kissable, I'd ask if this was a crank call, and even if it wasn't, I'd hang up.

I'd assume that people who ask random strangers about their kissing preferences must assume the risk of a smack in the kisser. Perhaps that's one reason we leave such work to professionally trained pollsters.

Still, some Americans are more than willing to assess the smooching skills of John Kerry and George W. Bush. In poll-crazy America, there now seems to be a poll on just about everything.

Which candidate has better hair? Who'd be more fun at a bar? Thanks to political polling we can answer these burning questions — and they don't come cheap.

Anybody can make a few phone calls and call it a survey. A formal poll is conducted by experts, like the Gallup Organization, and they generally have to interview more than 1,000 carefully selected people before they'll say it's a statistically valid reflection of the public.

You can guess part of the reason why Close-Up toothpaste conducts a kissability poll during a presidential election and why polls unmarried people. It keeps them in the news.

But some companies say they have to get involved in presidential elections, even if they're not taking a political stand. It's a matter of marketing.

"We have to know what single people are thinking and the upcoming election is part of it," says Trish McDermott, vice president of romance at, which commissioned a recent Gallup Poll of single voters.

The poll revealed that 91 percent of single people believe they're more likely to marry a registered voter. "That's why it pays for daters to be engaged to politics," says McDermott.

As Election Day nears, private industry wants to know which candidates score points with their hairstyle, fashion and personality. Put some of this research together and you get an interesting picture of the upcoming election.