October 16, 2004

Mobile Phones and Hinky Polls

With the polls so close -- within the margin of errors, some have suggested that the number of potential voters who don't have land lines and have adoped mobile phones, and never get pollster calls -- is big enough to skew the polls substantially. A discussion by Mystery Pollster suggests the answer may be "not yet."

Here's a list of possible error factors in political polling this year:

  1. Unreached mobile phone users.
  2. People with caller ID who screen their calls.
  3. People who won't talk to pollsters -- a growing number, I'll bet.
  4. Unlikely voters who may unexpectedly show up this year:
    • Karl Rove's 4 million evangelicals.
    • Everybody else who votes because of the great interest of this watershed campaign.
  5. Possibly depressed turnout:
    • Among blacks because Kerry hasn't connected with them.
    • Among a rainbow of Floridians who are who knows where because of the hurricanes.

Bottom line: likely cliffhanger. Bring on the litigators!

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