Pollster Deathmatch (part 2): Ignoring the young people

So it turns out that others are also concerned about the differences between the Nanos poll and the Decima poll. The Ottawa Citizen has run a story about it today.

2 differences apparently account for the gap. One, Decima prompts people with a choice of who they are supporting whereas Nanos asks an open ended question – meaning the responding has to choose. The second is more interesting:

Nanos pays more to get cellphone exchanges included in its calling list. Cell users tend to be young and more transient than those with land-lines, Mr. Nanos says.

So, Nanos sample is actually more representative. Decima is going to be skewed towards older voters. What is more interesting is that this problem isn’t a new one…

9 thoughts on “Pollster Deathmatch (part 2): Ignoring the young people

  1. Dirk Gibson

    Interesting post on an interesting subject. I would like to know how the “intention to vote” numbers work out between older voters and younger voters. I would think that older voters with land lines are more likely to actually vote on election day compared to those kids with cell phones. So many factors to take into consideration…

    Reply
  2. Debra

    Thanks for pointing this out. It's difficult to know which polls to trust. If their sampling is suspect how can they be trusted?+

    Reply
  3. Fiddlehead50

    Agree with Kim and I'd like to dig deeper here? Almost every screeniac wage slave I know over the age of 45 has a Blackberry! And the guy ahead of me in line when I upgraded to my Curve was a 50-something plant worker for a utility. So maybe they don't use texting quite so much, but that demographic is wired, wireless, and if less transient than the young, certainly very mobile in the day-to-day work-is-in-my-head sense.

    Reply
  4. David Eaves

    The question isn't who has a cell phone. The question is who only has a cellphone. Check out this Harris survey. This is the key piece:The Demographic Profile of “Cell Phone Only” Users:Consistent with our findings last year, those who use a cell phone as their only telephone service tend to be younger than the general population – in fact, about half (49%) are between the ages of 18 and 29. This percentage has decreased from 2006, when 18 to 29 year olds made up 55 percent of the cell phone only population, as older individuals become somewhat more comfortable with using a cell phone as their only type of telephone service. Additionally, as compared to the general population, cell phone only users are: * Less likely to be age 40 or older (29% versus 60% of the general population) * More likely to have at least some college education (60% versus 53% of the general population) * More likely to be male (57% versus 48% of the general population) * More likely to have household income less than $15,000 (16% versus 9% of the general population). * Less likely to have household income of $75,000 or more (28% versus 37% of the general population)Of course, this may all be inconsequential since the new Nanos poll is out:CP: 38LP 27NDP 21BQ 8GP 6

    Reply
  5. jeremyvernon

    I've worked with mobile software developers and the numbers regarding cell-phone only users are consistent with the numbers we used to gauge marketability of products.I have some questions though regarding youth turn-out. Are rural youth or urban youth more likely to turn up at the polls? Do ridings that retain universities have a significantly larger youth representation at the polls? Is there a corollation between ridings with high long-term youth-employment and young voter turnout?I've been canvassing my campus not for my party but I've been fighting a much tougher battle – campaigning for the political process. My experience is that that young people don't vote because of their transience – some don't want to bother because they won't benefit from their choice; others don't want to impose their will on a riding in which they don't have a stake.Still others are confused as to what's involved in registering and feel that they will be turned away (or have been turned away) because of some trick of bureaucracy. If any of my above hypotheses bear out that has some interesting implications that are difficult to reconcile.

    Reply
  6. Kim Feraday

    David,I go back to my original question. If only 22% of young people voted in the last election (I think that's the number) then it's one thing to get their opinion and another to actually get them to show up and vote. I think that it's a real opportunity for the progressive vote generally but I don't see much out there to get that vote registered and turning out to vote.

    Reply
  7. hughmacintyre

    Kim,That's not just a problem with youth vote. Often the results of an election is different than polls because one party's supporters don't show up at the same rate as another's. That is just one of the many reasons why polls should be taken less seriously.David,Its possible that Nanos changed its methodology. Especially if one way was cheaper than another.

    Reply
  8. hughmacintyre

    Kim,That's not just a problem with youth vote. Often the results of an election is different than polls because one party's supporters don't show up at the same rate as another's. That is just one of the many reasons why polls should be taken less seriously.David,Its possible that Nanos changed its methodology. Especially if one way was cheaper than another.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s