Interesting take. I’d often wondered about this. I know if I were 20 years younger and didn’t have kids I wouldn’t have a “home” phone. When my girls are old enough we may even become a family of cell phone only users and ditch the home phone all together. This seems like a natural shift, this cell phone only trend. At some point we’ll all just contact people individually instead of call their homes.

Salon points out how this dynamic may be causing Obama’s support to be under-reported by as much as 2-3%:

the sample I’ve described is either not being included at all in many national polls or is being undercounted. Why? Because I’m talking about the growing number of American cellphone users who have no other type of phone or who choose to go wireless for the vast majority of their interactive needs. And this election cycle — for the first, and perhaps only, time — this group has the chance to render presidential polls “wrong from the start”: potentially disguising at least 2 to 3 percentage points of Obama support and maybe more.

This is not only an historic election because of Obama. It is historic because of the shifting nature of electoral politics and the demographic of the average American Voter. Obama clearly gets this mobile move in demographic. McCain? Not so much.

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  • J-Dog

    I’d ditch the home phone in a minute if I had reliable cellular coverage. And, I live less than 150 feet from a U.S. Highway.

    Can you hear me now? No? Darn!

  • Modern Esquire

    I’ve been hearing the “cell phone” poll bias meme for some time now. I distinctly remember people claiming that Kerry would do better than the polls showed for that very reason.

    The main problem I have with this theory is that most younger people only have cell phones- a demographic with a significantly lower turnout rate than almost any other demographic (except unregistered voters:)).

    For that reason, I think the entirely theoretical “cell phone” demographic bias is highly unlikely to create a 2-3% bias among all registered voters or likely voters.

    The quantification of the bias is largely a matter of pure speculation, and one that doesn’t seem to reflect the possible bias.

    Recent studies estimate that only 16% of American households are wireless only. That means that the wireless family has to be almost exclusively pro-Obama (at rates that mirror his support in the African-American population) to creat a 2 to 3% bias.

    In other words, even assuming this speculative estimation is even factually valid, the supposed bias isn’t significant enough to say that it isn’t already considered or falls within any given poll’s margin of error.

  • You may be right Modern, but Obama seems to be motivating new young voters (who might be cell only) way more than John Kerry. Guess we’ll see.

  • Pingback: Cellphone only people strongly support Obama « Majorman’s Musings()

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