A new rule from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  "threatens to upend how pollsters conduct public opinion surveys, jeopardizing access to information about Americans’ lives and opinions that shape policy," according to a story today in the Los Angeles Times.

The new FCC proposal tightens the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restrictions on autodialer calls to cell phones, with no regard for the content of the calls.

As the Times piece explains:

“It’s really going to be a horrible thing potentially for the research profession and potentially for society,” said Howard Fienberg, director of government affairs for the Marketing Research Assn., responding before the FCC vote, to the potential rise of the technology.

If costs go up, pollsters say, policymakers will understand less about what Americans think and what they say they need.

... Pollsters argue their work is especially important in elevating the voice of people who would not otherwise have easy access to elected officials.

“The rich always have a voice,” said SurveyUSA President Jay Leve. “The average person has no voice except the voice given to them in opinion research.”