Cell Phone Polling: Does Your Phone Indicate Your Political Party?

Do only Republicans own landlines?

The Democrats are set up to taking a beating in the mid-term elections. Every poll shows Republicans with a sizable lead in the generic ballot, i.e. "Would you vote for a generic Republican or a generic Democrat right now?" And, in most specific races, especially for the House, the Democrats are getting shellacked in the polls

But what if that is because pollsters aren't asking the right people? A new study out by Pew takes a look at pollsters' methods and finds something glaring: Most only call landlines. Who owns landlines? Old people. What political persuasion are old people, generally? Republicans. Young people—who are more liberal and who may still be specifically involved and engaged after the Obama campaign—tend to only have cell phones, at least in my experience.

As you can see, it's possible that by just polling landlines, pollsters are missing a full 5 percent swing for the Democrats among likely voters. I don't think this spells any particular help for the Democrats, as they are still losing quite badly, but it makes the narrative of Republican landslide a little less solid seeming.