WRAL released a new statewide poll last week conducted by SurveyUSA which included in its sample, respondents that are believed to be “Cell Phone Only” (CPO) voters. And the findings of the behaviors and impacts on including these voters is rather surprising. Full results of poll here.
According to best estimates, somewhere between 20-25% of the population of the US is CPO — giving up their land-based telephones for good. Given that conducting telephone polls requires actually getting someone to answer the telephone, the rise in CPO voters has caused a bit of consternation in the polling community as they react to this development. Many, if not all, pollsters are struggling to figure out how to account for these CPO voters in their samples and what are the consequences of not including them in the survey.
Lucky for us, WRAL decided to test the behavior of CPO voters in their latest poll with Survey USA. Overall, CPOs don’t affect the results one bit. The results with 25% of the voters being CPO was Burr leading Marshall 46%-36%. If you removed all the CPOs, Burr leads 47%-37%. Basically unchanged.
Additionally, only 95 (38%) of the CPO respondents were likely voters this fall.
One poll does not a trend make, but this poll seems to indicate that either including or excluding CPO households doesn’t really matter right now. As this number continues to climb, and as the average age of those going CPO goes up as well, things may (and probably will change).
But for this year, it appears that figuring out likely voters is more important in getting an accurate poll than going out of the way to include cell phone users.
**Full disclosure: The Civitas Institute has contracted SurveyUSA to conduct polling for our organization as well.