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Until recently, pollsters telephoned residential phone numbers in order to predict the outcomes of presidential elections. Today, many people use mobile phones instead of landlines; in fact, the number of households with landlines has dropped from 8 in 10 in 2008 to just 5 in 10 in 2015. In addition, cell phone owners are substantially less likely to pick up their phones when they see an unknown number. With this in mind, how can the public be accurately polled for the 2016 election? Are individuals who pick up their phones - whether landline or cell phone - really representative of voters as a whole? This recent article in Nature explores these questions. The author also highlights possible new polling techniques, including the incorporation of "big data" to create more accurate poll predictions. The article includes an accompanying podcast episode that highlights polling information from the United States and Great Britain. Research citations are provided for those interested in further reading.
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Date of Scout Publication 2016-10-28
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