PBS | I, Cringely . The Diddy Factor: "My other topic this week is what I'm calling the Diddy Factor, named for hip-hop entrepreneur P. Diddy, who is headlining an ad campaign right now on cable TV urging young American music fans to register and vote in the coming Presidential election. I think the impact of this get-out-the-vote campaign is being underestimated. A communication revolution is taking place right now, and simultaneously, creating confounding influences on presidential tracking polls. All the polls right now say close to the same thing, that the race for President is neck and neck, but I'm here to predict that it is not. I'm sticking my neck out a bit, but I'm pretty confident that the polls are wrong. What's most interesting is why we aren't being told that.
Anna Greenberg of pollster Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research told the BBC, or example, that only three percent of Americans use their mobile phones as a sole communication device, but the FCC said two years ago that five percent of U.S. homes have only mobile phone service and that 15 percent of university students have only mobile phone service. And with 77 million U.S. mobile phones owned by people age 18-24, many of those supposedly counted are probably still associated with a parent's hard-wired telephone number but are really mobile. So the numbers of unpolled votes could be huge.
Now how about Diddy and all the others urging young people to register and vote in the upcoming Presidential election? Their stated goal is 20 million new voters (out of a total of perhaps 110-120 million voters) and given the fervent message and extensive advertising on MTV, VH1 and elsewhere, that goal just might be reached, presumably with most of those kids voting for Kerry, the Democratic challenger. If the polls are skewed, then Kerry is actually doing much better and can probably expect a comfortable win."
More insightful analysis from Robert X. Cringely.
Tangent: while this may be an issue localized to my PC, this is one of several sites lately that responds immediately with Firefox but goes into some kind of infinite loop in IE. Hmmm.