Pollsters are setting themselves up for an embarrassment, Salon predicts, by using only landlines in surveys, ignoring the 15% of American adults who use only cellphones. That 15% is predominantly young, full of students, and disproportionately black and Hispanic. They are not, in other words, likely McCain voters. Add this uncounted bloc, and Obama’s lead could jump 2% or more, two veteran pollsters tell Salon.
Pollsters try to account for the cellphone-only crowd by polling landline users in the same demographic. But landline users are fundamentally a different group; they’re more likely to be married, well-insured, socially conservative homeowners. Contacting cellphone-only users is expensive—by law, cellphones can’t be automatic-dialed—but if pollsters persist in ignoring the bloc, they could wind up with a Dewey/Truman level mathematical debacle, Salon says.