Just wanted to point you to an article from last June in the Daily Kos exploring how the rise in cell phones may be effecting telephone polling. The theory is that because it’s more difficult to reach people who don’t have landlines, and because these people are often the young, or the poor, or minorities, pollsters may be missing a significant number of likely Obama voters.

This is a not a time for complacency, but there’s something to this.  I’ve been volunteer in Reading, PA at Organizing for America and have noticed that voter outreach by telephone is not what it was “back in the day” or even four years ago.  Most households, even those with landlines, don’t answer calls from numbers they aren’t familiar with.  While some of us “port” and protect our phone numbers (you’ll have to rip my 212 from my cold dead hands), many folks simply get new numbers every time they change phones.

Monday night I attempted to make 100 “voter turnout” calls based on a list of registered voters within a certain Reading neighborhood.  We were instructed to let the phone ring no more than four times, and not to leave messages on voicemail.  Most of the time, my calls were unanswered, but there were also quite a few disconnected numbers and even more “wrong numbers.”    That evening I did not reach a single voter on my list.  Yet, I know from canvassing that an overwhelming number of folks in the community support the President and have committed to voting for him.

If telephone pollsters are primarily reaching people who (1) have landlines, (2) answer their phones when they don’t know who is calling, and (3) are willing to answer a pollster’s questions, then they are not interviewing a representative sample, and come election day, this could provide a welcome surprise for Democrats.

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5 Comments on Another Reason Obama May Be Doing Better Than You Think

  1. Alina Holgate says:

    Hope you’re doing OK at the moment with the storm.

  2. Marion says:

    Thanks, Alina. The storm didn’t hit that hard in Reading, where I am for the campaign. Some people lost power and some trees were down, but it’s ok now. We live in the part of New York City that also came through in tact. The better half reports that it’s almost eerie how unaffected the unaffected part of Manhattan is.

  3. Alina Holgate says:

    Good to hear that you’re safe. Your better half’s response to the storm is similar to reports of bushfire survivors – one street devastated, one street untouched. Good luck with rebuilding your community.

  4. Craig says:

    and you were of course correct, and as we all know, Romney and his brain trust evidently didn’t figure that out.

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