Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

The National Center for Health Statistics updated its estimates on the size of the population without landline telephones.  The data is was collected from July - December 2006, which means that the wireless only population is probably higher by now.  The full study is fascinating and located here.

wirelessonly.jpg

The age group with the highest wireless only penetration is 25-29 year olds, at 30%.  I'm one of them.

I don't know how this impacts traditional polling techniques, but I am curious.

Tags: cell phone, wireless (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

of Obama's core of support isn't getting polled it matters.

by nevadadem 2007-05-15 05:13PM | 0 recs
I made this statement here,

BEFORE, those polling numbers, again are not right!!!

by icebergslim 2007-05-15 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

I'm one of them as well.  It just doesn't make sense to have a landline phone anymore.

by KansasNate 2007-05-15 05:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

Kinda funny how much time I spend on my cell phone talking to other people on their cell phones about politics. I don't think I've ever been polled in my life (other than online).

by Bob Brigham 2007-05-15 05:35PM | 0 recs
EXACTLY...

I talk to everyone on my cell phone, and my kids do too.

by icebergslim 2007-05-15 05:38PM | 0 recs
I am one of them too,

only I am in the 40 age range.  Don't need a landline, for what?  

by icebergslim 2007-05-15 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

"I don't know how this impacts traditional polling techniques, but I am curious."

Full disclosure: I work at a polling firm.  Right now, the default assumption is to simply assume that excluding them won't matter, due to some combination of a) The wireless-only people are more or less similar to the population with landlines that we can reach, b) The wireless only people are less likely to vote and c) There aren't enough wireless-only people to be important.  Moreover, wireless-only is only one of the problems that cause sampling to not be truly random; others include people who work nights, low response rates, call-screening, and so on.

The problem is that all these other problems are getting worse as well (response rates are low and dropping, call-screening is on the rise, etc.)  So over the next, say, 5 years, there's going to be a lot of development in the field.  The place it's farthest along is Zogby, which currently uses email-based polling and heavily weights the data it gets based on a ton of demographics.  This sort of approach will probably get more and more common. Of course this introduces its own problems...we live in interesting times.

by meelar 2007-05-15 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

Many good points. The size of the wireless-only population is growing, but so far, the demographics of that population are demographics that have lower turnout - young, low income, drinker, smoker etc. Which is not to say that the entire population is a bunch of poor young drunks that never vote, just that the impact is less than the population size would suggest.

The assumption that the wireless-only population is similar to the general population in their voting is probably true in general, but not completely. Landline polls show Obama with higher support in the lower age brackets, so he probably misses more polling votes than Edwards, who polls well in the older brackets. Still, younger voters have low turnout, most still have landlines, and Obama doesn't get 100% of the segment. Edwards, Clinton etc still pull votes.

In my polling for Texas, Obama pulls 18 points higher than average in the under 30 segment. That group is ~28% wireless-only, but also only 13% of the voting population. Do the math and you see that he is being shortchanged by less than one point. That's nothing compared to a typical MOE, or even the art/science of a likely voter screen.

OTOH, if an RDD poll doesn't weight by age, it may actually oversample the under-30 segment due to their much lower turnout.

I do RBS, voting history based polling, so I use whatever number the voter provided. I have a service that updates numbers for voters that move, and that probably works better for landlines, but then again, cell users typically keep the same number.

by IVR Polls 2007-05-15 07:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

"I don't know how this impacts traditional polling techniques, but I am curious."

In my household, it means we get polled on our landlines quite frequently -- at least once a month. We answer the phones and are willing to be polled and apparently fit some demographic target, so we just keep getting called.

by janinsanfran 2007-05-16 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

I'm under 25 and nobody I know has their own land line.  As younger cohorts start to take up more of the market share, the proportion of people that are wireless only is going to get a lot bigger.

by whogotthegravy 2007-05-15 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

I'm in the latter part of my 50's, so I don't fit the "profile".  I live by myself, and have an elderly mother whose health is fragile.  The cell phone is not an alternative, it's a necessity.  After paying for a land line and a cell phone for 2 years, I concluded it was nonsensical to continue to pay for both, and cut off the land line.  More and more people of my generation are concluding the same thing, even if they have to have more than one cell phone in the family.  The day will come that no one has a land line.  I would venture to guess that day isn't that far in the future.

by pax 2007-05-15 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

Currently I have both, but as my roommate is moving out and I want to live alone at the next place...I've given serious thought to abandoning a ground line...(assuming I can get Internet through cable or something).

So I read this article with interest, but Matt's got an awesome point.

Except I really don't know how to say this...it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. This "disconnect" means that youths and Hispanics are becoming far less reliable voters. Polling aside, the sort of "pump-up" phone calls also don't reach cell-only types.

Now...the other part of the survey that is revealing is that young renters are really likely to rely on cell phones. This is also bad news, because renters move more commonly than homeowners and means they are less likely to register at their new place.

by risenmessiah 2007-05-15 11:00PM | 0 recs
Obama's numbers must be affected

by this. His typical supporter is a tech savvy young man.

by Populism2008 2007-05-16 12:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

Wireless only since '04, but in an older demo. But I've always been a fairly early adopter (my first computer was in '78, which should give you an idea of which demo). Never gotten a political survey in my life. Well, maybe one, years ago. I don't understand why people who don't run home businesses or work from home have landlines anymore. Minutes are cheap, and who wants to check the machine?

And no surveys or telemarketers!

by kovie 2007-05-16 01:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

I'm wireless-only, my husband's wireless-only, and we're 42 and 52.  Ahead of our time on one demographic measurement, at last!

by Nina Katarina 2007-05-16 04:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Wireless Only Population Triples from 2004

I'm 54 and wireless only for the past 5 years. I have never been polled.  There are more of us than just the 20 or 30 somethings!!!

by elizm 2007-05-18 02:36AM | 0 recs

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