Calling Cell Phones In '08 Pre-Election Polls

Public opinion polling faced many challenges during the 2008 presidential election. None was more daunting than the rising number of "cell phone only" voters who could not be reached over the landline telephones. The latest estimates from the National Health Interview Survey -- the most comprehensive measure available -- suggest that nearly 18% of households are wireless only, and the NEP Exit Polls conducted on Nov. 4 found 20% of Election Day voters saying they were cell only.

To address this challenge, the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press included cell phone samples in all of its fall election polls, and many other major pollsters took similar steps. All of the Pew Research Center's election survey reports were based on data from both landline and cell phone interviews, using a methodology described below. The addition of cell phone interviewing had at most a modest effect on estimates of candidate support in most of those individual surveys. When looked at in the aggregate, however, clear patterns emerge.

Read the full report Calling Cell Phones In '08 Pre-Election Polls on the Pew Research Center's Web site.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.