Even as national polls continue to show an extremely tight presidential race, President Barack Obama's level of support may be sold short by pollsters that do not capture a burgeoning segment of the electorate. That's the upshot of a memo released Monday by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.
According to the memo, national polls conducted by live interviews routinely fail to capture a representative sample of cell phone users in the American electorate, while automated pollsters are legally prohibited from calling cell phones. Most live interview pollsters designate roughly 30 percent of their samples for cell phone users, but GQR contends that the actual portion of the electorate could be closer to 40 percent.
Such a shortcoming, the memo suggests, carries the potential of pegging Obama's nationwide support at a lower level than it is in reality.
From GQR's analysis:
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In the last half of 2011, 32 percent of adults were cell-phone only according the Center for Disease Control that is the official source on these issues; 16 percent were cell phone mostly. But the proportion cell-phone only has jumped about 2.5 points every six months since 2008 – and is probably near 37 percent now. And pay attention to these numbers for the 2011 adult population:
• More than 40 percent of Hispanic adults are cell phone only (43 percent).
• A disproportionate 37 percent of African Americans are cell only.
• Not surprisingly, almost half of those 18 to 24 years are cell only (49 percent), but an astonishing 60 percent of those 25 to 29 years old only use cell phones.
• But it does not stop there: of those 30 to 34 years, 51 percent are cell only.