Coverage of Public Opinion Polls: Journalists’ Perceptions and Readers’ Responses

Alyssa Appelman, Mike Schmierbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This project examines news coverage of public opinion polls and explores whether journalists and readers are familiar with best practices in this domain. Study 1 tests the effects of related errors on readers’ perceptions, and Study 2 asks journalists to reflect upon this kind of coverage. Readers (N = 495) only noticed errors when they were very frequent, and many did not assess stories differently based on the presence of errors. Journalists (N = 51) acknowledged that this coverage often contains errors, and many identified individual and structural causes. Taken together, this suggests the need for additional training in polling and numeracy for journalists and audiences. Such efforts could improve news articles about public opinion polls, as well as readers’ ability to recognize and seek out stronger coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-782
Number of pages20
JournalJournalism Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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