Polls, Cell Phones, Caller ID, and Hawaii

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A lot of people have been talking about how cell phones are beginning to make polls a lot less useful, because pollsters aren't allowed to call cell phones due to some plans being pay-per-call. Since the demographics of cell phones make it likely that this would undercount the Kerry voters, the people who have been talking about it have been expecting Kerry to do much better than the polls suggest. I personally know many people who have only cell-phones, so this group is not insignificant. The one problem I have with this argument is that I know far more people who have caller ID and who won't answer their phone if they don't recognize the name on the ID. This doesn't seem to me to be a particular demographic that would favor either candidate, so I don't think it weights thinks back in Bush's direction, but my main point here is that this is such a huge group that can't be polled by phone, and in the end we really know much less from the polls than we thought. This is going to get increasinly so with each election. I've been following polls like a hawk, but I'm not expecting things to break according to how the polls have gone. We'll see.

While I'm talking about polls, I want to make a suggestion that I haven't seen about Hawaii. No one seems to be able to figure out why such a heavily Democratic state as Hawaii has been polling for Bush. It's a weak Bush lead, but polls have given him a lead. Why would it even be close? I haven't even seen anyone try to explain it. Here's my best guess. Hawaian voters are worried about North Korea, since Hawaii was the target of the last attack we experienced from east Asia, and they're begininng to think Bush will handle North Korea better than Kerry. That's my guess, and I haven't seen any other explanation (never mind a better one), so I figured I'd offer it up to those who care about such things.


I haven't heard that one before. But if Hawaii is worried about N. Korea, then Washington and Oregon should be similarly worried as N. Korea has missles that can reach these states. But out here in Oregon, I haven't heard anything like that. I haven't heard N. Korea come up even once in local conversations.

The difference between Washington and Oregon and Hawaii is that Pearl Harbor is in Hawaii. They have a history of being the first place attacked, and that places it in their minds a little more clearly. The polls haven't radically moved toward Bush in either state. I can't think of another explanation why they would do so in Hawaii and not on the west coast states.

The explanation doesn't assume that people are talking about it, just thinking about it.

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