Presidential polls and cell phones

Presidential polls and cell phones

From Smart Mobs

Is polling skewed by missing cell phones?.

A question for the blogosphere: I’m hearing rumors that US presidential election polls are way off, since they’re not touching cell phones. I can’t get a good piece on this yet, though. All I can find are opinion columns, a few notes in other places, and descriptions of pollsters being blocked from calling mobile users.

If this is true, and a real problem, how do we integrate mobile phone telephone into building pictures of public opinion? What applications have emerged which let us do that? If we don’t, how far off are poll results?

We’ve posted on this before.

 In 28 states, the state legislatures have passed laws giving telephone users the right to opt out of receiving telemarketing phone calls, including public opinion surveys. More and more voters are availing themselves of this right and the pickings for telephone polling firms are getting more and more scarce.

Even beyond the formal opt-out which makes it illegal to call certain voters when taking public opinion polls, the “hang up” factor is looming larger and larger in telephone polling.

Plus, there’s lots of people pollsters never speak to, such as people who

1) aren’t home much.
2) use a cell phone as their main phone.
3) let the machine get it.
4) check the caller id before answering.
5) have an unlisted nunber.

Thus, the highly mobile urban population is virtually excluded from phone polls. Either they aren’t home or their primary (and in some cases, only) phone is a cell phone.