Mr. President, We Must Not Allow a Cellphone Gap!

I keep on hearing that the political polls are inaccurate because pollsters do not call wireless phones.

I commission polls at UC Berkeley and we call wireless phones. Seems like a no brainer to me. So, I’ve never quite understood why professional polling firms wouldn’t call cell phones. (I’m an expert in telemarketing laws; survey firms can call cell phones legally so long as it is not a front for marketing.)

Today, I poked around at some prominent pollster’s sites to see whether they call cell phone users:

Gallup: Yes, when it is a “national telephone Gallup Poll” survey.

Zogby: No. Here are their reasons.

Princeton: It looks like yes, but it’s not clear that they always do. Looks like Pew did a study with Princeton on this issue finding:

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has conducted three major election surveys with both cell phone and landline samples since the conclusion of the primaries. In each of the surveys, there were only small, and not statistically significant, differences between presidential horserace estimates based on the combined interviews and estimates based on the landline surveys only. Yet a virtually identical pattern is seen across all three surveys: In each case, including cell phone interviews resulted in slightly more support for Obama and slightly less for McCain, a consistent difference of two-to-three points in the margin.

Peter Hart: No statement on the matter.