The Republican National Committee sent out a nifty “pre-season” letter asking party members to participate in a confidential Republican Exploratory Presidential Preference Poll designed to measure

early awareness and opinion of various high level Republicans who have been mentioned as possible candidates for the Presidency…to help our Party and possible candidates establish early baseline gauge of the interest and viability, within our Party, of a provisional slate of possible presidential nominees.

What a good idea, what a great way to engage the constituents. And collect $12

to help process your poll.

Yes, along with requesting a donation of $25 to $250 to help fund mid-term elections and start revving the 2016 Presidential elections, the RNC would like you to help pay for your opinion to be counted. (Hopefully that $12 goes towards living wages for the poll processors!)

Thing is they sent it to a friend of mine’s girlfriend who describes her partner as

a life-long Democrat, gold-star lesbian, bio-diesel car enthusiast, and non-profit open space land conservationist.

Whoops. I think the RNC may not get the replies they anticipated from this household, especially in the write-in column.

So which lucky elephants populate the very long short list? Not Michele Bachmann, but Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Sarah Palin and Condoleezza Rice make up the ladies, while familiar names like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Paul  Ryan, and that ever-frothy favorite Rick Santorum are just some of dudes.

Participants are asked to give their opinion of each candidate as strongly favorable, favorable, unclear/no opinion, unfavorable and strongly unfavorable. Each poll sheet has a number, registered to the recipient’s name and address, making this a handy marketing tool allowing the answers to be collated for, say, “personalized” RNC fundraising letters from candidates you find favorable, or once the field has narrowed, asking you to donate to one of your favorite candidates campaigns.

Crowdsourcing a candidate seems a little risky, especially when tied to donations. Do the amounts of contributions to the RNC make the person’s opinion more worthwhile, like, would a $250 donation and a favorable for Bobby Jindal count more than a “strongly unfavorable” for the same possible candidate when only accompanied by the $12 poll cost?