Final KSTP poll adds cell-phone-only voters

For months, I’ve been complaining about political polls that don’t call voters who have only cell phones — now about a quarter of the citizenry. But Thursday night, KSTP’s pollster will include such voters for the first time.

KSTP political reporter Tom Hauser says SurveyUSA paid the extra cost to reach cell-phone-only voters, known as CPOs. SUSA dials land lines robotically, but cell phones must be called individually due to federal law.

In late July, when Star Tribune pollster Princeton Survey Research added CPOs, Mark Dayton’s lead doubled from 5 points to 10. Hauser indicates that sort of change won’t happen tonight.

“In Minnesota, they’re not finding much of a difference between CPOs contacted by live operators and people they contact by landline via computer-generated calls,” he says.

If so, that would be consistent with two earlier SUSA pilot projects in North Carolina and Washington Senate races. Why would the Strib’s pollster show a considerable jump and SUSA not much? New York Times polling analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, struggled for an explanation earlier this month.

For the moment, the SUSA and Strib polls are pretty close: SUSA’s most recent survey had Dayton up by 5 and the Strib has the DFLer up by 7.

Wednesday, Hauser noted that Emmer had improved his standing in southern Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, so tonight’s poll may show the race closer. Hauser says the CD1 poll did not include CPOs.

Hauser says SUSA is adding cell phones to several state polls, probably to assure the closely watched surveys are as accurate as possible. 

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