TITLE

Polls as news

PUB. DATE
January 1973
SOURCE
Columbia Journalism Review;Jan/Feb1973, Vol. 11 Issue 5, p2
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article comments on the pre-election poll in the U.S. A pre-election poll is an electoral pseudo-event, showing who is ahead. The issue in the main is not the accuracy, authenticity, or the credibility of such polls; they have long since recovered from missteps of earlier years and indeed had a banner year in 1972. The issue is their qualification as news of public importance. Every major story about a poll becomes a part of the flow of information on a campaign. In theory, it is a form of reporting on the electorate; in fact, it is a kind of handicapping sheet, telling voters whether they are with the potential majority, telling potential contributors whether they may be backing a losing candidate, telling politicians whether to become shriller or mellower. Poll reporting is devoted almost obsessively to the size of the lead and the probability of the outcome. To the extent that poll news displaced other forms of reportage in 1972, it may share part of the blame for the desiccated nature of the campaign.
ACCESSION #
16404381

 

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