While the media gleefully tells you about the latest polling results do they bother to ask this question of the pollsters - did you include voters who only use cell phones?
It is a critical question that goes unasked
Cell-only adults are demographically and politically different from those who live in landline households; as a result, election polls that rely only on landline samples may be biased. Although some survey organizations now include cell phones in their samples, many -- including virtually all of the automated polls -- do not include interviews with people on their cell phones.
That tidbit comes from a report today from the Pew Research Center which is a leader in research about the press and politics.
When Pew does a poll it often surveys more than 2,500 - including a sampling of those with only cellphones. Their polls are far more detailed than any we see coming with surveys of 500 to 700 likely voters.
Consider this: The latest estimates of telephone coverage by the National Center for Health Statistics found that a quarter of U.S. households have only a cell phone and cannot be reached by a landline telephone.
In an earlier report, Pew said: pollsters and other survey researchers who use the telephone as the principal means of reaching potential respondents face a difficult decision as to whether to include cell phones in their samples. Doing so adds significantly to the cost and complexity of conducting surveys at a time when respondent cooperation is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.