On the other hand you are onto something when it comes to members of groups who want their opinion to be more important than it really is ~ let's think about the GBLT, abortion rights and feminazi crowd. They want to get called by a pollster ~ and they answer every single time. Their party line talking points are firmly in their minds so they have no problem answering the questions. The result is that they have a 100% response rate while everybody else has a 9% response rate. That makes them 11 X more important than the others, per person polled!
Recently the gurus behind the GBLT gay marriage initiatives have figured this out. They say the polls say everybody in America wants gay marriage yet every time they run a referendum they lose! Some have suggested duplicitous pollsters are misleading the GBLT crowd so they'll spend all their money and go away.
But you're absolutely correct in surmising that polling by phone is just about the worst method anyone could use. And it's no longer cheap when you need to call 100,000 people to get 9,000 answers so you can set up a baseline on demographics vis a vis an opinion on some issue.
I would always intentionally lie if I was ever polled.
I always lie when on the rare occasions I take a poll.
I’m a conservative Republican who is clearly going to vote for -bama and wants queer marriage. LOL. I believe, given the poll internals of how many “conservatives” are voting -bama that I must not be the only one like me.
You did bring up a very good point though, that I had never considered before: although the bulk of America answers polls at about a 9% rate, those voters like the queer lobby and radical abortionists, WANT to take part in expressing their feelings to pollsters, and that they therefore are on the order of 10x oversampled.
I have to remember this and internalize it. I imagine that the best pollsters already have that figured out, but they may not have any good way to re-normalize their polls even though they know it.