Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cell Phones, Redux

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

We've talked before about the effects that cell phones have on polls, and I found this tidbit in yesterday's USA Today (page 4B). It seems that Harris and CITA surveyed 2,089 teens ages 13-19 in July about cell phone usage. (Note - this obviously includes voters.)

79% of all teens have a mobile device.
40% believe a cell phone is all they will ever need (read: NO landline).

The likelihood is that there are more 19 year olds with cell phones than 13 year olds. So what does this mean for polling implications in 4 years? Or futher out?

And most importantly - one of the reasons cell phones don't get polled is that the numbers are private. This because we pay by the minute, as opposed to home phones where no one pays for incoming calls. If pollsters can call cell phones, then it ceases to be the last bastion of protection for telemarketers...do we suddenly want our cell phones open to the world? Would that force a great change in billing patterns? If suddenly cell phones became as cheap as landlines, would landlines go away?

UPDATE: Matt let me know that there are some pollsters who ARE using cell phones in their polls. Sorry for my error.

From Gallup in January, to the AP last week, some pollsters are coming over to including cell users. If you haven't seen this article from Pew Research, you may want to check out that they feel there isn't much of a difference, although I contend that in a red/blue world, 2 points is ALL the difference that matters.