01/19/2010 11:15 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Column: Too Many Automated Polls Now? Just Wait

My column today considers the proliferation of inexpensive automated surveys and two developments that promise to fuel even more growth: Two companies that promise to offer the ability to conduct an automated telephone poll for less than a thousand dollars.

I filed the column on Friday afternoon, which in Massachusetts Senate time was seven polls ago, and those new polls underscore the message of the column. Nine of the 16 polls we logged on since January 1used an automated telephone methodology, including 5 of the last 7. Two of the surveys, those sponsored by Pajamas Media and and, used pollsters whose work we have not previously tracked.

Of those 15 polls, only two -- the surveys conducted by the University of New Hampshire and Suffolk University -- had traditional, mainstream media sponsors. The rest were conducted or sponsored by polling public relations, political partisans, "new media" web sites or some combination of these three.

So the vision of the future described in the column is, in many ways, already upon us.