Smart phones forcing pollsters to be smarter and work harder

Posted at 5:51 PM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 21:48:44-04

Pollsters have been calling cell phones about one-third of the time to reach people and do surveys before the election.  

But that’s changing with the technology.  

The other alternative is calling landlines. But who still has those? Mostly older people.   

Epic-MRA Pollster Bernie Porn says, “We have tried to keep up with it certainly by making sure we have contacts with cell phone users especially cellphone-only users.”

Epic-MRA obtains records about voters which are public documents. Candidates get them too to do internal polls and tweak their campaign.  

Those polls require calling thousands of voters, men, women, all age groups, ethnic groups, and geographic locations to get accurate results that will reflect the actual vote on Tuesday.

With so many robocalls, many people don’t answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize.  

“If we don’t get a response, we move on to the next random selection,” Porn says.  

That firm is not calling numbers at random. Live operators are using a list of known voters.  

Porn says, “we know who the cell phone owner is.”

The New York Times did a poll in Michigan’s 11th Congressional district. They had to call 66,770 to get 465 to talk with them!  

“That sounds like a high number but that seems very possible. We used to do 20% cell phones in any sample we did in a survey. Now we do 30%. Probably the next election cycle we’ll move to 35 or even 40,” Porn says.  

He also says they are accurate 95% of the time, by keeping up with changing times.