Monday, October 1, 2012

Polls Only Reach 9% of the Population

Zombie over at PJMedia has an interesting poll on polls from the polling company Pew Polls.

We are the 91%. Only 9% of Americans Cooperate with Pollsters.

The percentage of households in a sample that are successfully interviewed – the response rate – has fallen dramatically. At Pew Research, the response rate of a typical telephone survey was 36% in 1997 and is just 9% today.

Breaking down the numbers a bit, we can see that this is due to two reasons: 38% of the households contacted were unreachable in the first place, leaving only a 62% “contact rate.” But among that 62%, only 14% “cooperated” with the pollsters; the remaining 86% of contactees presumably slammed down the phone or simply refused to answer. Since 86% of 62% of the population are non-cooperators, that leaves us with the astonishing conclusion that…

53% of Americans actively refuse to answer poll questions.

It's interesting to note the reasons given for this refusal:

Here’s a summary of some of the anecdotes and reasons for non-response from the comments section below; the number preceding each line is the number of commenters who cited that rationale:

13 – I have caller ID and never answer any call from any number that is either unknown or blocked.

12 – I do answer, but I often lie and give false answers, just to screw with them.
11 – I do not respond because I suspect that callers identifying themselves as “pollsters” are more likely telemarketers, fraudsters or deceptive political operatives engaged in “push-polling.”
After we saw what was was done to Joe the Plumber for asking a simple question of Obama, can you blame anyone for not wanting to answer some pollster?

As Instapundit would say, read the whole thing.


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