Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Can We Trust the Polls?

The Pollsters, including Gallup Polls, throw numbers at us every day. McCain 49%. Obama 44% for example, but where do the Pollsters really get their numbers?

In the case of Gallup polls that track the election and the major political, social and economic questions of the day, the target audience is generally referred to as "national adults." Strictly speaking the target audience is all adults, aged 18 and over, living in telephone households
within the continental United States. In effect, it is the civilian, non-institutionalized population. College students living on campus, armed forces personnel living on military
bases, prisoners, hospital patients and others living in group institutions are not represented in Gallup's "sampling frame."

This "Sampling Frame" also leaves out the 3/10 Households in the US that have ONLY cell phones because Federal Law forbids unsolicited call to cell phones from the automatic dialing machines used by Gallup.

So, who are these 30% of Americans that are not represented in the "National Polls"??? A good portion of them are:
* Lower-than-Median income
* Renters (rather than home-owners)
* Minorities
* Under 30
* In College or Recently Post-Graduation-General better educated than non-cell phone users.
* Single(nearly 66% of people age 30 and under are single compared to only 33% of people over 40.

In Short, the people under represented in Gallop Polls (by a Whopping 30%!!) are DEMOCRATS!

In the case of the Recent Political Poll offered by Gallop Polls stating that McCain is leading by 5% (McCain 49% to Obama 45%), what would the numbers look like if the unrepresented 30% were added into the poll??

If the sample was 100 land-lines called:
49 of them chose McCain
45 of them chose Obama
6 of them are undecided.

If 30 of those calls had been to cell-phones, then the numbers would probably look like this:
19 would choose McCain
75 of them would choose Obama
6 of them would be undecided.

Land-line polling is not keeping up with the changes in American Culture, so how can we trust the Polls at all?

1 comment:

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