1-800-FREE-411 and Pennsylvania politics
As a Pennsylvania resident, I was really surprised by today's announcement from portfolio company, Jingle Networks. The company, which operates the country's largest free 411 service (1-800-FREE-411), recently conducted a political poll.
Now this was not your typical poll. Typical polls contact just 500 - 1,000 people. Because Jingle gets calls from almost 20 million callers a month, they were quickly able to poll 24,000 likely voters in Pennsylvania. This makes it one of the largest samples ever used in a political poll -- with an error level of less than one percent.
And the results were pretty surprising. Among those making a choice, the results show Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton by 57 percent vs 43 percent. These results are strikingly different from traditional polls (for example, a recent LA Times / Bloomberg poll shows Clinton ahead in PA by 5%).
George Garrick, Jingle's CEO, comments that "a key factor contributing to error in poll predictions is the undecided voter sector. In Pennsylvania, 25 percent of voters are still saying they are "undecided" and that could easily produce a last minute turnaround from one candidate to the other since the undecided sector is larger than the differences being cited in any of the polls. If the small sample size used in a typical poll does not perfectly represent the larger population, it's possible to see a very different result in the actual vote. That's why using a significantly larger than normal sample size is interesting."
It's always neat to see new technologies used in unanticipated ways...