I'm looking for a way to describe expressing an opinion that isn't true because there is a strategic motive.

For example: If I ask someone to name their least favorite 2016 GOP presidential candidate, and they say "Jeb Bush", even though there are others they like even less than him.

The reason they say "Jeb Bush" is because their favorite GOP candidate is Rand Paul, and they know that Jeb is a good competitor and might give Rand a tough time. Their least favorite candidate is actually Donald Trump, but they purposely don't pick him because they think he'll never win the primaries.

Basically he's strategically saying his least favorite candidate is Jeb Bush (even though it's not).

What is the best way to say this without having to provide a large example like the one I provided above?

  • 4
    @Othya, I disagree with your premise that the respondent is lying. Rather, he is answering the question from a particular point of view that you did not want him to consider (that of political strategy instead of political philosophy). Simply put, they like him the least because they have sufficient disagreements with him philosophically AND he is the one most likely to displace the one they like the best. If you want to know who they disagree with the most regardless of strategic considerations, you should phrase the question appropriately.
    – Hellion
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:52

7 Answers 7


Since you said 'words', I'm gonna answer with two.

It was a calculated lie.

A strategic lie also works.

A strategic lie is a lie told to advance one's agenda. (From the book 'The Nonverbal Factor')

PS - I can't help but suggest: "It's all part of the plan".


The label lie may be a bit strong considering the complex nature of human opinions. If two competing opinions vie for dominance in a persons mind, a person might be hedging:

2.1 [NO OBJECT] Avoid making a definite statement or commitment:

He was obviously hedging his opinion in the matter, because expressing his raw opinion would have been counterproductive.

A ten-cent hedging is much more self-evident than the fifty-cent tergiversating, which may be more acurate:


1.0 Make conflicting or evasive statements; equivocate:
the more she tergiversated, the greater grew the ardency of the reporters for an interview

2.0 Change one’s loyalties; abandon a belief or principle.


I would say it was a contrived opinion or answer.

deliberately created rather than arising naturally or spontaneously.


  • 1
    Contrived is usually used to describe a scenario which is obviously fabricated, especially in reference to a story or plot. Such as "Horror movies are so contrived. Why do the characters split up? It doesn't make sense!" I wouldn't use it to to describe a lie being told because of an ulterior motive.
    – mfoy_
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:29
  • Maybe usually but google.com/search?q="contrived+answer" gets 6,330 hits, google.com/search?q="contrived+opinion" gets 2,770. Not many but not rare.
    – Avon
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:37
  • Compared to the 87k of google.ca/search?q="contrived+opinion". I wouldn't say "contrived opinion" is invalid usage, it's perfectly fine. It just fails to convey the subtly malicious intent behind the nature of the fabrication.
    – mfoy_
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:39
  • @mfoy_ Yes ...the strategic motives behind it. I agree in that sense. It is not specifically about that.
    – Avon
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:42
  1. expedient (n) -- implies the choice of a course of action for its usefulness, regardless of whether it is honest or morally justified.

  2. pretext (n) -- generally used to describe a falsely stated purpose.


This is known as "gaming" as in "gaming the interview".

I can't find a definition on my usual resource, though... maybe it's too colloquial?

If you google "define: gaming" you'll see definition #2 is what I'm talking about.


I'd suggest mislead or misleading. It implies that there is an objective to be gained by the lie.



  1. to lead or guide wrongly; lead astray.
  2. to lead into error of conduct, thought, or judgment.

Expressing a self-serving point of view. Giving a self-serving opinion. A coincidentally advantageous position.

  • Please explain why each of these is a good suggestion. Jun 26, 2015 at 20:39

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