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New Data on Cell Phones

Every time we report on a new poll, someone asks the good question: "what about cell phones?" The Pew Research Center has some important new data on the topic.

In a report out today, Scott Keeter, Pew's director of survey research, updates the center's ongoing work on the presumed "Cell-Only Problem." The new data are from a June national poll, and generally confirm previous studies showing that while there are sizable demographic differences between those who have only cell phones and those who are reachable on landlines (e.g., they are younger), there are only negligible attitudinal differences on political matters.

Keeter writes that the "overall estimate of voter presidential preference is modestly affected by whether or not the cell phone respondents are included. Obama holds a 48% to 40% lead in the sample that includes cell phones, and a 46% to 41% advantage in the landline sample. Estimates of congressional vote are the same in the landline and combined samples."

The differences between 48 and 46 percent for Obama and 41 and 40 percent for McCain are not statistically differentiable given sampling error. And further from Pew: "[n]arrowing the analysis to voters who are certain about their vote choice, there is almost no difference between the landline and combined samples."

The full report is worth a careful look.

By Jon Cohen  |  July 17, 2008; 1:37 PM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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