In the old days, when most people had landline phones and weren’t afraid to answer them, pollsters could get a very accurate picture of American public opinion by phoning strangers in different parts of the country. But with the advent of cellphones, pressure to be woke, and paranoid conspiracy theorists refusing to trust “elites” asking about their politics, it’s become almost impossible to get quality data on U.S. public opinion, as evidenced by the failure of pollsters to predict recent elections.

But just for fun over the Spring I did a poll of about 20 people from rural and urban Ontario. I tried to select them as randomly as possible, except that I made sure about 50% were male and 50% were female.

To each person I asked two simple questions “What 4 people living today that you have read or heard about, in any part of the World, do you admire most?”. This was followed by “What 4 people living today that you have read or heard about, in any part of the World, do you admire least?” This is similar to the most admired man and woman poll done by Gallup except I simply asked for most admired people, leaving gender out of it.

Even though I did not know any of these people, and did not prompt them in any way, three of them (about 15% of the sample) named Oprah as one of the people they admired most! She was closely followed by Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and Queen Elizabeth (who was still alive at the time) who were named by two people (about 10% of the sample). The least admired were Putin, Trump, a few Canadian politicians, and a few sometime centibillionaires.

But my poll had limited relevance because it was confined to the parts of Ontario I just happened to be in. And Ontario is only one part of Canada, which sadly is not as important as America.

But what if I could convince some of my American readers to do the poll where they live!

There are half a dozen Americans who comment on this blog, and they’re probably scattered fairly randomly across the United States. If each of these readers were to give this poll to just 4 random adult strangers in their community (2 men and 2 women), I would have a sample of dozens of respondents who were representative of hundreds of millions of people in the World’s sole super power! You don’t even have to reveal where in the U.S. you live because odds are you’re not all going to be from the same region of the country.

Now you may find (as I did) that a lot of people don’t admire anyone or can only name one person and that person may be their mother. That’s fine. As long as they are a randomly selected stranger and participate in the poll, their answers count. For each respondent, remember basic details (sex, approximate age (don’t ask), race)

And because you’ll be asking strangers in person, we’ll be able to get at the growing percentage of Americans who refuse telephone polls.