Image credit BoingBoing
Why is Mrs. Hesse smiling? After all, some jerk just called right in the middle of dinner, so she gets to pass the convenient extension phone to hubby and eat her soup with a phone cord in her face. Fewer and fewer people are willing to put up with this; 26.6% of Americans no longer have a land line, and an astonishing 49.6% of 25-29 year olds do without. And why not? "All they get are solicitations, and most calls are done on a wireless phone anyway, so it represents a waste of money," says analyst Charles Golvin of Forrester Research in USA Today.
Then there is the question of landline bias in surveys. Last November Pew Research found that landline surveys produced "slightly more support for Republican candidates and less support for Democratic candidates, resulting in differences of four to six points in the margin".
In Jaymi's post Drop in TV Ownership May Signal a Change In Consumer Electronics Purchases, she noted that "Nielsen reports that for the first time in 20 years, TV ownership has dropped from 98.9% to 96.7%." That didn't seem like much to me, and I wondered if there was landline bias in the results, missing a younger, wireless demographic. (Wired is going to have to change it's name, it's readership increasingly isn't)
To check it out, I ran a survey this morning and at this point, a full 25.7% of our readership is without a TV.
I asked the team 'round the water cooler and I got comments like:
I know very, very few people with a land line... and they're mostly my parent's generation. I don't think I know a single person in the city with a land line.
I haven't had one in years.
I haven't had one since... 2000?
It's a rental thing, I think. cell phones are portable, land lines are not. most people under 35 in urban areas are renters.
I wonder if there isn't significant landline bias in the Neilson poll, if there isn't a much higher percentage of people who do not have TVs any more. And I wonder what percentage of our readers above and below 35 years old have landline phones.