An Obscure Lawsuit Could Skew Polls In Favor Of Republicans

By IAN MILLHISER, ThinkProgress – A $12 million legal settlement could send tremors throughout the polling industry, significantly increasing the cost of conducting an accurate poll — or potentially even causing pollsters to release results that do not account for nearly half of the nation. The lawsuit concerns how pollsters are allowed to contact voters who rely exclusively on a cell phone to make and receive telephone calls from their homes. Forty-four percent of American adults live in cell phone-only households, according to a recent survey, and these voters behave very differently at the polls than the rest of the electorate. According to one dataset, cell phone-only voters preferred Democrats to Republicans by 11 points in 2012, while voters reached on landlines only preferred Democrats by 2 points. A class action lawsuit against the Gallup Organization claims that Gallup violated a federal law prohibiting it from making “any call . ....

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