CNN’s own poll, just released minutes ago, shows President Obama ahead of Mitt Romney among likely voters 50 percent to 47 percent, but while CNN reports the poll as close – even with President Obama having an three-point lead, the poll has design problems.
From CNN: “Battle for presidency remains close in new CNN poll”
Fifty-percent of likely voters questioned in the CNN survey, which was released Monday, say that if the election were held today, they would vote for the president, with 47% saying they would support Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. The president’s three point margin is within the poll’s sampling error.
The poll itself has a problem: it’s sample is just “1,013 adult Americans, including 883 registered voters and 783 likely voters, questioned by telephone.” That means several things, none of them good for the credibility of the poll.
First, the number of people called is too small to have a sample that has a confidence interval of 4 percent. According to a calculator created by SurveySystem.com, the population of persons poll has to be at 5,739,512 for a voting population of 131 million – the number of Americans who voted in 2008.
Second, the method of contact was telephone – cell phone calls were not mentioned and this at a time when the use of cell phones as the primary tool of contact is at an all time percentage high.
According to Pew Research…
Some 88% of U.S. adults own a cell phone of some kind as of April 2012, and more than half of these cell owners (55%) use their phone to go online. We call these individuals “cell internet users” throughout this report, and this represents a notable increase from the 31% of cell owners who said that they used their phone to go online as recently as April 2009.
And USA Today reported that one-in-four homes used the cell phone as their only phone in 2010. And that was 2012 – this is 2012. Given the economic downturn, it’s safe to say that number might be closer to 33 percent today.
Why Make An Inaccurate Poll?
Why make an inaccurate poll? Unfortunately, it’s a way for people be made to think there’s a close election when it’s not. For CNN it’s about ad revenue and ratings – why watch CNN if the election’s already called for Obama? It’s also about politics: CNN and Fox have bent more toward a conservative side – with Fox News leaning so far right it’s content is labeled as biased when it’s released.