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A poll-taker's technique to get you to respond: 'Smile while you dial'

Gallup Poll interviewer Ed Dubas, a former used-car dealer, is on track to reach is 100,000th interview for the company. On the phone he aims to be polite and neutral, and he values the public service mission of Gallup – to document the will of the people.

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Ed Dubas, an employee with Gallup, works at one of their call centers making phone calls doing polling for various organizations, on June 7, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. Dubas, a former used car salesman, has been their best interviewer in the world for five years. More than 200 full and part-time callers work out of this location. Gallup is especially well known for their political polls.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor

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Ed Dubas is one fast talker. He has put this skill to good use over the course of his working life – as a mayor of the small Nebraska town of Fullerton and a used-car dealer.

Now, this bespectacled grandfather of three with the smooth voice and easy way with words could be phoning you. He is a Gallup Poll interviewer; and each of the past five years, Mr. Dubas has been the best at it in the company's global business of conducting political and corporate polls. He is on track to complete his 100,000th interview for the company by year end.

His secret?

"You smile while you dial," Dubas says from his cubicle at Gallup's Omaha call center in an office park outside the downtown area.

Dubas is one of approximately 900 interviewers tasked with executing Gallup's polls. He says Gallup's callers get paid by the completed survey, so Dubas doesn't mess around. Having grown up one of eight children on a farm, he was weaned on long days and hard work. At Gallup, he says he takes as much overtime as possible, and 15-hour stints aren't outside his norm.

During a time in life when many people look toward retirement, Gallup has given Dubas – now 60 – a next professional act. He says he loves what he does. Like many of his colleagues, Dubas views Gallup's mission to document the will of the people as a public service. But Americans, inundated with calls from pollsters of all persuasions – and intentions – and folks peddling stuff, can be wary of a stranger seeking personal views. Hang-ups are not uncommon. Respondents aren't always shy with four-letter words.

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