The Impact of Cell Phone Usage on the Polling Industry

Cell Phone Usage Has IncreasedCell-phone usage is something considered by both polling and consumer research centers to be a new and substantial consideration in the world of public opinion.

It must be noted that polling and survey callers may only legally use cell-phone numbers obtained from individuals who have opted to use cell-phones as their primary contact.

Nonetheless, the growing numbers of cell-phone only households – now at 20% of the population and rising – and the nature of cell-phone only users themselves are having an impact on the polling industry.

In a recent article Gallup explained that its “methodologists and survey scientists have studied, researched, conducted test polling; analyzed existing data; and examined the implications of the inclusion or exclusion of cell-phones and determined that it is necessary to include cell-phone numbers in survey samples despite the increased costs of doing so to ensure that the obtained samples continue to be representative of all Americans.”

However, because most cell-phone users are younger, more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities, and are more transient than traditional landline users, the absence of their opinions in a poll hasn’t affected the accuracy of consumer research and political polls yet.

So far, those who use cell-phones most tend to vote the least. Thus, landline phone polling is still very effective for those types of polls.

But this is clearly a transition stage as results from the research put into discovering the effects of cell-phones on our culture and on the opinion polling industry begin to show need for action.

One thing is for certain, Congress will act by making laws to allow cell-phone polling for the purpose of research the moment they become aware of the changes in their own ability to understand the American public.

So, for now, watch and wait. But know that polling at this point is still effective within the current boundaries.

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