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Are political polls accurate in the age of cell phones?

Molly Wood Oct 15, 2010
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Are political polls accurate in the age of cell phones?

Molly Wood Oct 15, 2010
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As Election Day approaches, there is no shortage of polls predicting, with varying degrees of accuracy, the outcome of the elections. Many of those polls are conducted by automated calling of land line phones. But given how many people use cell phones instead of land lines, can we trust what the polls say?

A new report from the Pew Research Center says 1 in 4 Americans have ditched land lines in favor of cell phones. And people who only use cell phones vote differently, according to Pew. They tend to be younger, more like to be African-American or Latino, and more likely to vote for a Democrat than a Republican. They may also be less likely to vote at all than a person with a land line phone. It’s a skewing of the data that could have a big impact on what we know of political polling.

We talk to Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center, about his organization’s findings. We also talk to Charles Franklin, co-founder of Pollster.com and a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Also in this show, two reports of autonomous cars — one from Google, one from some guys in Germany — have host John Moe wondering why we’re in such a hurry to toss the keys to a computer.

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