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Young cell phone users behind Kerry

A poll conducted via text messaging on mobile phones may fill gap in voter opinion research.

Ed Frauenheim Former Staff Writer, News
Ed Frauenheim covers employment trends, specializing in outsourcing, training and pay issues.
Ed Frauenheim
2 min read
The young cell phone crowd backs Kerry for president, according to a novel poll taken exclusively over mobile phones.

Among 18- to 29-year-old likely voters, 55 percent favored Democratic candidate John Kerry, while 40 percent preferred incumbent George Bush, according to the study, conducted by polling firm Zogby International and nonprofit group Rock the Vote.

The findings may address the concern that traditional polling efforts don't reach young people who strictly use a mobile phone.

"Rock the Vote's mission is to encourage young Americans to be heard in the political process," Jehmu Greene, president of Rock the Vote, said in a statement. "Because this group has been increasingly underrepresented in traditional polls, our mobile-phone poll, conducted with Zogby, takes a first step toward capturing the political attitudes of youth voters--reaching them while they are on the go."

Other polls predict that Tuesday's presidential election will be close, making the new text-messaging poll potentially significant. In the survey of 6,039 likely voters, 1.6 percent chose Independent Ralph Nader, and 4 percent remained undecided. The poll was conducted Oct. 27 through 30 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points. Its results were weighted for region, gender and political party.

Against the standard view that young people care little about voting, the poll found that only 2.3 percent of 18- to 29-year-old respondents said they did not plan to vote. Another 0.5 percent were not sure if they would vote.

Participants came from the 120,000 subscribers of Rock the Vote Mobile, a system put in place by Rock the Vote and mobile-phone maker Motorola.

John Zogby, CEO and president of the Utica, N.Y., polling firm, said his company plans to explore future text message surveys in response to concerns throughout the polling industry about reaching mobile-phone users.

He also said the new poll's results jibe with other research.

"Among 18- to 29-year-olds, Kerry leads the president by 14 points--55 percent to 41 percent in our current daily tracking poll--virtually identical to these results," Zogby said in a statement. "Our text message poll seems to have been validated by this experiment. All in all, I think we've broken some new ground in polling."