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Cell Phone Interviewing in Florida

Topics: Automated polls , Cell Phones , Florida , IVR , Quinnipiac

A South Florida Sun Sentinal article on the impact of the rising use of cell phones on surveys includes this bit of news:

The Quinnipiac University Poll plans to begin calling cell phones with its next Florida poll, later this spring...The Institute for Public Opinion Research [at Florida International University] already does, in almost every poll.

Most of the well-known, national media surveys (including those conducted by the Pew Research Center, Gallup Daily, USA Today/Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/ORC, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and AP-GFK) now interview respondents on both landline and cell phones, but we have so far seen very little of the same at the state and local level. As such, shifts by pollsters like Quinnipiac that poll at the state level mark a significant milestone.

The cell-phone-only issue presents a special challenge to pollsters that rely on automated, recorded voice methodology (sometimes referred to as interactive voice response or IVR), because the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) bans any sort of unsolicited call to a cell phone using "automated dialing devices." The ban means that prolific statewide pollsters like Rasmussen Reports, SurveyUSA and Public Policy Polling (PPP) cannot dial voters on their cell phones.

For more detail, see our posts on cell phones and survey and the Pew Research Center report from 2008 on their research on calling via cell phones in 2008.

Update - I emailed Doug Schwartz, the director of the Quinnipiac University Poll and he confirms that they have been or will be adding cell phone samples to their statewide polling in 2010:

We've already started call cell phones in our NYC, NY, NJ, OH, and national polls. And over the next few months we will begin calling cell phones in the rest of our states - PA, CT, and FL.

 

Comments
Ptolemy:

One reason to drop landlines is to put an end to changing phone numbers with every address change. Florida has many residents who recently arrived, as well as a large seasonal population. I know from personal experience that registered Florida voters do not necessarily have a Florida area code for their cell phone (and have no other number). How will pollsters account for these voters?

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