Politics Polling and Cell Phones
posted by June 25 at 17:48 PMon
Back when I didn’t have a cell phone, I doubted the vaunted cell phone effect had much impact on polls. But these days I’m starting to think you really have to look at a key stat to figure out how representative a poll is of the general population.
Take this survey of Washington state residents, commissioned by the DOT as part of the update of its bicycle and pedestrian plan. (Via Seattlest). We’re talking bikes, right? The average age of respondents to the poll (which was conducted via telephone in April) was 51. 51! Look, I don’t expect 65+ year-olds to tackle Seattle’s notoriously hilly terrain. And the state shouldn’t be able to deprioritize bike amenities because ridership drops off after a certain age. The least a poll could do is try to get the average age of respondents down to around the age of the average Washington adult. Late thirties, I’m guessing? A poll of the older Washington residents who hang around their land lines just isn’t necessarily representative of this state’s commuters. (Voters, maybe.)