Do you use a land-line, a cell phone or both? It turns out your choice of communication can affect the accuracy of polls. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, polling that neglects cell phones have a conservative bias.
Interestingly, polls that contact only land-lines give conservatives a 5 point margin over dual frame polls.
Dual users — people who have both a land-line and a cell phone — reached by land-line were found to prefer the GOP by about 12 points. Cell-phone-only respondents favored Democrats 44%-47%.
As long as polls focus only on land-lines they will be missing a large portion of the population — young people. Young people (18-30) are more likely to ditch the land-line in favor of cells and are also more likely to vote Democrat, favoring them 38%-53% according to several pre-election polls.
It seems we can infer that respondents who don’t want to ditch the land-line are more likely to be conservative. In the land-line and cell sample, respondents 18-30 years old favored Democrats by 4 points; those in the same age bracket reached on land-lines only favored Republicans by 8 points.
It is clear that younger voters are being underrepresented by land-line only polls. This problem has a free-market solution. If polls do not start running more duel frame surveys their results are going to become irrelevant.