Believe it or not, there are fewer presidential polls this season than four years ago

Nate Silver, our favorite political numbers-cruncher, SAYS the pace of presidential polling has fallen quite dramatically from four years ago:

From January through July 2008, there were 558 state polls released that tested the Obama-McCain horse race. By contrast, there were only 329 through the same date this year — about a 40 percent decline.

What’s causing the reduction?

Austerity at news media companies is undoubtedly a part of the problem. Polling isn’t free, nor is it particularly cheap — at least when it’s done well.

Indeed, polling is becoming more expensive because fewer people are picking up the phone and responding to surveys. You have to churn through a lot more calls to get the same number of completed interviews.

More Americans are not reachable on landlines at all. Failing to place phone calls to the roughly one-third of Americans who rely solely on cellphones is becoming less and less acceptable — but calls to cellphones add to the expense of polling.



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