Is The “Cell Phone Effect” Lowballing Obama’s Numbers?

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Do pollsters who don’t call cell phones make the election look closer than it actually is? Polling maven Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com thinks so. The traditional assumption is that young, cell-phone-only voters probably lean heavily toward Obama. It turns out that the four national polls that include cell phones in their samples are also the four polls that have him with the largest margins of victory. He charted it for you, too (after the jump):

cellphone-chart.png

The yellow bars are polls with cell phones in their samples. Nate’s said all along that there is a statistically significant cell phone effect. Read all his posts on it. He’s pretty convincing. (I interviewed Nate Silver in August for MoJo Video. We talked about polling, naturally. You can find the interview here.)

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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