Mark Blumenthal | June 22, 2007
Topics: Cell Phones
During last month's conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), I mentioned the many papers being presented on the growth of cell-phone-only households and promised to report back. I have been digging through the many papers ever since, and have been working on some analysis on the subject which, in the crush of new charts and other activity around here, I have yet to post.
Fortunately, Scott Keeter, the director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, has posted a concise and accessible review of the cell phone challenge to surveys. The Pew Center has been at the forefront of research and development on this subject, conducting four pilot studies over the last two years that interviewed people with cell phones over their cell phones.
The summary is well worth reading in full, but for those in a rush, here is Keeter's view of where things are heading:
Pollsters recognize that some type of accommodation for the cell-only population will have to be made eventually, as was clear from the large amount of research on the topic presented at the AAPOR conference last month. In addition to the use of so-called "dual frame samples" such as those described above (calling both a cell phone sample and a landline sample), practitioners are discussing other alternatives, including the establishment of panels of cell-only respondents that can be surveyed periodically to track their opinions, and employing mail or internet surveys to reach the cell-only population.
For those who want more detail, I can also highly recommend the longer paper he presented at the AAPOR conference (co-authored with Courtney Kennedy and April Clark of the Pew Center and Trevor Thompson and Mike Mokrzycki of the Associated Press) which Keeter has now posted online. Of all the papers I have reviewed, it was easily the best review of the issues most relevant to the political surveys we all obsess over.