What you don't know about the presidential candidates

Little-known polls show that people would prefer Obama to water their plants and McCain to wash the car.

People would rather barbecue burgers with Barack Obama than with John McCain. While many are still deciding who should be president, by 52 percent to 45 percent they would prefer having Mr. Obama than Mr. McCain to their summer cookout, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll released last week.

As commentators and talk show hosts debate the significance of the barbecue polling results, anonymous sources have told this correspondent that several other national surveys have revealed a wide range of surprising voter opinions. Among the still-secret findings are these:

•In response to the question, "Who would you rather have on your touch football team after the barbecue?" 68 percent of those polled favored Obama. But 65 percent said McCain should referee the game.

•Asked which candidate would be better at aiding the search for a lost pet, 59 percent of respondents preferred Obama. An even larger majority, 64 percent, chose McCain as best qualified to hook up the jumper cables when help is needed starting a car with a dead battery.

•When queried about the subject of youth soccer, 53 percent of those polled thought McCain would do a superior job as head coach. Interestingly, the exact same percentage said Obama should be in charge of preparing the postgame snacks.

•If faced with the need to hire both men as a team to housesit for several weeks, 58 percent felt that Obama would do a better job keeping plants alive and bringing in the mail each day. A resounding 77 percent said McCain should be in charge of monitoring and adjusting pH balance and chlorine levels in the swimming pool.

•Told to consider each man as a door-to-door sales representative, 61 percent claimed they would make a purchase from Obama if the merchandise under consideration was a vacuum cleaner or other floor-care system. McCain was favored by 66 percent if the product was laundry-related or kitchen cutlery.

•Among married women voters, 71 percent viewed McCain as "more dependable" for basic chores such as washing cars and changing light bulbs. An impressive 83 percent named Obama as "more imaginative" in choosing fun, entertaining destinations for family vacations.

•In the always-important demographic of voters under age 25, 76 percent responded that it would be "way cool" to be sitting next to Obama at a performance of Cirque du Soleil. Even more amazing was the landslide of 93 percent who said it would be "a hoot!" to hang out with John McCain at a Star Trek convention.

Jeffrey Shaffer writes humor from Portland, Ore.

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