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Re: <nettime> epistemological crisis for US tail-chasing politics
t byfield on Sun, 3 Oct 2004 16:12:03 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> epistemological crisis for US tail-chasing politics

mgoldh {AT} well.com (Fri 10/01/04 at 01:45 PM -0700):

> I'm not certain Breslin has all facts straight. The NY Times
> specifically claims to use random number generators to phone pollees,
> and if they really do, that should include cell phones.

Breslin's and the NYT's respective claims aren't exclusive. The numbers 
may be generated randomly, but that doesn't preclude filtering the 
resulting pool against known criteria: commercial numbers, emergency and 
public-service numbers, fax machines, pagers, dead numbers, etc. Until 
quite recently, filtering out mobile phones would have been quite easy 
because the structure of the number delegations was so crude (an extreme 
example being an entire area code in the NYC area set aside for mobile 
devices, 917). The delegation patterns are becoming much more obscure for 
all kinds of reasons: numbers that formerly fell within landline 
delegations are now being recycled into mobile delegations; and 
legislation about number portability is blurring lines between landlines, 
mobiles, and VOIP lines. But it's not like the telcos that hand out these 
numbers don't know what these numbers 'are' in contractual terms, 
especially with mobile phones; and you can rest assured that pollsters 
have direct or indirect access to that info.

In any event, Breslin is just reporting John Zogby's critique.

>                                                         A different
> question is whether potential Kerry voters and potential Bush voters
> are equally likely to answer the phone, either because they don't want
> to be charged for a cell call while a pollster offers along list of
> questions, or because they screen calls or are out and about and
> available less, etc. The Gallup poll claims more Republicans than
> Democrats among its pollees, and that seems odd, quite possibly
> indicating a biased polling method. but Ted's remarks below seem valid.

Uninvited/impersonal calls to mobile phones remains, amazingly, a big 
no-no in the US.


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